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-Bruens

Lotte gets her PhD!!!

Much delayed by COVID, but Lotte was finally allowed to defend her thesis. Opponents and guests were virtually present, while Lotte filled the empty room with great display of her expertise and knowledge!

Snippertlab-Maarten

Expansion

Yes, he is different! We welcome the first MD in our group! Maarten will carry out a phase1/2 trial to test a new therapy against KRAS mutant colon cancer. In parallel he will test organoids as companion diagnostics. Maarten will be co-supervised by Jeanine Roodhart, medical oncologist in our hospital.

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Review in Developmental Cell

COVID lockdown provided a window to reexamine current literature regarding stem cell function and environmental control. Joris took the lead and shaped his long-term interest into a new review.

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