Research in the Department of Plasma Proteins is performed by four Principal Investigators, prof Jan Voorberg, prof Sander Meijer PhD, prof Joost Meijers and prof Koen Mertens. All PI's are mutually involved in the different research lines within the overall focus on Hemostasis and Thrombosis.
The research program of the department focuses on the biology and function of blood coagulation factors that include factor VIII, factor IX, factor XI, Von Willebrand factor (VWF) and ADAMTS13. Factor VIII is absent in patients with the congenital bleeding disorder hemophilia A whereas factor IX is lacking in patients with hemophilia B. Treatment with highly purified factor VIII and factor IX preparations provide an adequate therapy for hemophilia. Structure-function analysis employing proteomic approaches to increase our understanding of the biochemistry of these coagulation factors with current emphasis on the development of novel generation of procoagulants with improved properties. Patients with von Willebrand disease lack functional VWF. Emphasis is on the biosynthesis and storage of VWF in elongated cigar-like structures designated Weibel-Palade bodies in endothelial cells. Polymer size of VWF is controlled by the VWF cleaving protease ADAMTS13, which is lacking in patients with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP). Recently initiated lines of research include the interactions of hemostatic components with platelets and red blood cells
A multidisciplinary approach is used within the different lines of research that involves protein biochemistry, mass spectrometry, molecular and cell biology with the goal to develop novel innovations for both blood cells and coagulation factors.
Our department offers several internships for undergraduate students (University master students and HLO trainees). For more information and an overview of the current internships visit the student projects page.