HUGO SNIPPERT

SNIPPERT LAB

Functional heterogeneity in cancers

RESEARCH

Cells within a cancer are highly heterogeneous with respect to their phenotype and can manifest distinct morphological, molecular and functional features. As a consequence, it is challenging to design treatment therapies that target all cancer cells as effectively. Currently, the Snippert group main interest is to use patient-derived (cancer) organoids and advanced imaging to study cellular phenomena that have a large impact on human cancer treatment.

Genetic heterogeneity

The vast majority of tumors is genetically heterogeneous, meaning that cancers are composed of many different genetic subclones. In recent years, continuous innovation in sequencing techniques has been the main driver to advance our knowledge about genetic heterogeneity in cancers. Unfortunately, little is known about tumor evolution at cell cycle resolution.

Phenotypic heterogeneity

Phenotypic heterogeneity in tumors includes non-genetic processes, such as different cell fates and phenotypes due to variable expression patterns. These are either established by tumor intrinsic cues, e.g. cellular differentiation hierarchy, or upon interaction with the tumor microenvironment.

The exact interplay between genetic and non-genetic factors remains elusive with respect to tumor growth, progression and therapy resistance.

(Single-cell) drug response

Regularly, anti-cancer therapies are effective against the majority of tumor cells. Unfortunately, there is frequently a small population of cells that shows resistance against the applied therapy. Little is known about the nature and origin of these resistant cells.

NEWS

Snippertlab-Trends in Cancer

Review in Trends in Cancer

We wrote a review about the types of oncogenic mutations in the MAPK pathway in colorectal cancer. They are similar but different. Unfortunately, studying them is often comparing apples to oranges. Organoid models and CRISPR genome editing might pave the way…

Snippertlab-MarieCurie

Marie Curie for Michiel

Michiel was awarded a prestigious Marie Curie research grant to continue his science in our lab after an earlier successful period at MSKCC in NY, USA. Well done! Michiel will study genetic alterations in esophageal adenocarcinoma using patient organoids and high-end imaging.

Dr. Hugo Snippert  is Group Leader at the department of Molecular Cancer Research within the Center of Molecular Medicine at the University Medical Center Utrecht. In 2017 he became an Oncode Investigator.
Hugo received his PhD (cum laude) in the lab of Hans Clevers (Hubrecht Institute) where he used advanced mouse genetics and microscopy to characterize (new) stem cell populations in the mouse intestine, skin and intestinal cancer.

His main interests relate to cell fate specifications and how multiple individual cells act in concert to secure tissue functioning. He is always looking for concepts and principles, with a strong emphasis on developing new technology.

He received an HFSP young investigators grant and ERC starting grant in 2018.

OUR FUNDING