Mieke Geens Team

Differentiation potential and malignancy of human pluripotent stem cells

PI: Mieke Geens

Contact: Mieke.Geens@vub.ac.be

PhD students

Alex Keller completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Oregon in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in Human Physiology. In 2015 he obtained his master's degree in Molecular Biology at the VUB with distinction. He joined the team during his second year master's internship, where he worked on detecting, isolating and characterising residual undifferentiated stem cells. As part of the REGE team, he will continue his work with these cells in an effort to further expand upon our understanding of their origin, and the risk they pose to the eventual use of stem cells in the clinic.


Dominika Dziedzicka studied Medical Biotechnology at the University of Warsaw in Poland. During her first year of Master program she was a visiting Erasmus student at the VUB and completed a 3-month internship in the REGE lab (Jul-Sep 2012). She obtained her Master degree at the University of Warsaw in May 2013 with a thesis about toxicology of human neural stem cells. Then, in September 2013, she officially joined the REGE team at the VUB as a PhD student. Her research topic is investigating differentiation potential of individual human pluripotent stem cells lines.


Christina Markouli studied Molecular Biology, Genetics and Biotechnology in the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece) and graduated in 2011. In 2013 she obtained a master's degree in Genetics, Cell and Developmental Biology at the VUB. She joined our team in January 2014 after obtaining a highly competitive scholarship at the IWT. She investigates the effect of chromosomal abnormalities on the differentiation potential and malignant characteristics of human embryonic stem cells. She recently obtained a FWO travelling grant to joint the laboratory of Prof. Andrews at the Sheffield University. There, and as part of her research project, she worked for six months on the differentiation capacity of human embryonic stem cells carrying a gain of 20q11.21.

Past members

Maria Krivega obtained her diploma in physiology with specialization in embryology in Moscow State University in 2005. In 2009, she received a Master’s degree in Biomedical sciences in Mount Sinai Medical Center, co-joined with New York University. She started working at REGE in April 2010 and successfully defended her PhD entitled “Balancing between totipotency and differentiation in human embryos” in September 2015. The aim of the project was to uncover mechanisms responsible for the high developmental potential of human embryonic cells and focused on intercellular adhesion, cell cycle and signaling cascades in both human preimplantation embryos and hESC. In 2015, she received an exchange award from the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology and The Fertility Society of Australia.


Lise Barbe worked on X chromosome inactivation in human embryonic stem cells during an internship from September 2011 to June 2012. Is now PhD student in the team of Karen Sermon, and works on the use of human pluripotent stem cells as disease model for myotonic dystrophy type 1.


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VUB • Faculty of Medicine & Pharmacy • Laarbeeklaan 103 • B-1090 Brussel, Belgium
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