Our team

DOPS 2020 Committee

Chairwoman: Roos Wennink - University Medical Center Utrecht
The main focus of my project is to identify the molecular fingerprint of children with non-infectious uveitis based on biological mediators (genomics, proteomics and metabolomics). Etiology and treatment response varies widely in these patients. Since it is unclear which treatment is suitable for each individual there is an unmet need for tools that can guide clinical decision making. Therefore our aim is to find biomarkers that can predict treatment response children with non-infectious uveitis.

Secretary: Evianne de Groot -University Medical Center Utrecht
My PhD focuses on central multifocal choroiditis (MFC). MFC is a form of non-infectious uveitis with involvement of the choroid and the retina. The disease specifically occurs in young, female, myopic patients. The goal of this project is to find genetic factors confirming the role of the immune system in the etiology of this disease and to evaluate the efficacy of systemic therapy. Moreover, the role of multimodal imaging, in particular the OCT angiography is explored.

Treasurer: Timo Mulders - Radboudumc
The focus of my PhD is central areolar choroidal dystrophy (CACD). CACD is an autosomal dominant retinal disorder characterized by progressive photoreceptor degeneration and central vision loss, commonly by heterozygous caused mutations in the PRPH2 gene. A substantial proportion of carriers of PRPH2 mutations displays non-penetrance, which is currently not understood. Understanding which factors contribute to non-penetrance may pinpoint factors that protect against disease progression, potentially leading to new targets for treatment. Furthermore, the results of this study may reach much further than the single disease of CACD, since these “modifying” factors are likely to play a role in virtually all other inherited retinal diseases. In addition, awaiting therapy for CACD, there is a need for detailed data on the progression rate of the disease. We aim to construct a CACD progression-model, using multimodal imaging techniques, which can be used to evaluate the effectives of future therapies.

Public relations 1: Patty Dhooge - Radboudumc
My PhD focuses on treatment options for Stargardt disease. Stargardt disease is the most common form of inherited retinal diseases and affacts 1 in 8,000 to 10,000 patients worldwide. Different treatment options including pharmacological agents and genetic therapy are being developed. The goal of my PhD project is to study the natural course of Stargardt disease and possible biomarkers in the context of the evaluation of future forms of treatment. Next to this I coordinate the SORAPRAZAN study, which is a multicenter phase ll proof of concept study to investigate the safety and efficacy of the drug Soraprazan in Stargardt patients.

Public relations 2: Cristina González Gonzalo - Radboudumc
Screening for retinal diseases has become a top healthcare priority, but sustainability of current screening programs is not warranted, due to an increasing ageing population and the epidemic nature of obesity. My PhD focuses on implementing artificial intelligence techniques in eye screening workflows, with the aim of substantially reducing the burden on highly-trained personnel and the associated costs, while maintaining quality, obtaining higher throughput and increasing screening coverage.