Lieke Burgers is a PhD student temporarily working in the NeuroD group of Willeke van Roon-Mom as part of a collaboration with the University of Auckland. Burgers is a PhD student at the Centre for Brain Research at the University of Auckland, but due to Covid-19 started her PhD in February 2020 at the LUMC. The collaboration was however established long before Covid-19. In 2018, during her Masters in Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology at Leiden University, Burgers did her research internship in Van-Roon-Mom’s group related to exon skipping therapy for Dutch type cerebral amyloid angiopathy (D-CAA). The following year, she finished her Masters with a research project at the Neural Reprogramming and Repair lab of prof. Bronwen Connor at the University of Auckland. She will be returning to the Connor lab for her PhD and continue her work on Huntington’s Disease (HD).
During her PhD, she will assess the clinical potential of directly reprogrammed striatal precursor cells in HD rat models for cell replacement therapy. The transplanted cells should replace the brain cells lost through disease. Currently, her aim at the LUMC is to genetically correct the patient-derived skin cells for the disease causing mutation prior to reprogramming and transplantation.