Jacco van Rheenen

Jacco van Rheenen was originally trained in a variety of imaging techniques during his PhD with Dr. Kees Jalink at the Netherlands Cancer Institute. He was among the first to optimize imaging and develop software to quantitatively measure FRET on confocal microscopes. During his PhD in the lab of Dr. Jalink and as postdoc in the lab of Dr. Sonnenberg (Netherlands Cancer Institute) he used several microscopy techniques to study lipid signaling in tumor cells. In order to broader his scales, he obtained a KWF fellowship to do a postdoc in the United States in the lab of Dr. John Condeelis. There he extended his imaging experience by imaging mammary tumors intravitally including two-photon microscopy and became an expert in the field of intravital FRET imaging. In 2008 he was appointed as group leader at the Hubrecht Institute, where he utilizes his imaging techniques to visualize processes that are required for the metastasis of mammary tumor cells in living animals. In 2009, he was awarded a VIDI grant and a research grant from the Dutch Cancer Society. In 2012, he was awarded a research grant from the Association for International Cancer Research (who have now rebranded to Worldwide Cancer Research), and in 2013 a research grant from Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. In 2013, he received the Stem Cells Young Investigator Award (see video below). In July 2014 he was appointed professor in Intravital Microscopy at the University Medical Center Utrecht. In 2015, he was awarded an ERC consolidator grant.

Other activities:

  • Professor at Utrecht University
  • Member of the editing board at Intravital
  • Member of the assessment committee at KWF
  • Organizer of masterclasses and co-chair of the seminar series at CSND


Team membersvan Rheenen

Elisha Verhaar


Lotte van den Bent


Andreia Margarido

PhD student
a.margarido at hubrecht.eu

Andreia Margarido

Frank Bos

f.bos at hubrecht.eu

Laura Bornes

PhD student
l.bornes at hubrecht.eu

Miguel Vizoso

m.vizoso at hubrecht.eu

Jessica Morgner

j.morgner at hubrecht.eu

Pim Toonen

p.toonen at hubrecht.eu

Carrie Maynard

PhD Student
c.maynard at hubrecht.eu

Colinda Scheele

PhD Student
c.scheele at hubrecht.eu

Sander Steenbeek

PhD Student
s.steenbeek at hubrecht.eu

Danielle Seinstra

PhD Student
d.seinstra at hubrecht.eu

Danielle Seinstra

Lotte Bruens

PhD Student

Arianna Fumagalli

PhD Student
a.fumagalli at hubrecht.eu

Maria Alieva Krasheninnikova

m.alieva at hubrecht.eu

Saskia Suijkerbuijk

s.suijkerbuijk at hubrecht.eu

Saskia Ellenbroek

s.ellenbroek at hubrecht.eu

Evelyne Beerling

e.beerling at hubrecht.eu

Anko de Graaff

a.graaff at hubrecht.eu

Jacco van Rheenen

Group leader
j.vanrheenen at hubrecht.eu

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Van Rheenen: Cancer biophysics

Complication of metastasis, the process in which cells detach from the primary tumor to form new distant tumor sites, is the primary reason why patients die from cancer. Most of our knowledge of tissue homeostasis, tumor initiation, progression and metastasis, and chemotherapy resistance is derived from techniques that draw a static picture of these highly dynamic processes. To study the dynamic aspects of these processes, the van Rheenen group develops state-of-the-art imaging techniques to visualize and study individual cells in real-time in living animals, referred to as intravital microscopy. By these experiments we hope to indetify new drug targets...

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Key publications

Zomer A, Maynard C, Verweij FJ, Kamermans A, Schäfer R, Beerling E, Schiffelers RM, de Wit E, Berenguer J, Ellenbroek SIJ, Wurdinger T, Pegtel DM, van Rheenen J, (2015), In Vivo Imaging Reveals Extracellular Vesicle-Mediated Phenocopying of Metastatic Behavior. Cell, 161(5):1046–1057 Zomer_et_al_extended pdf


Ellenbroek SI, van Rheenen J. (2014) Imaging hallmarks of cancer in living mice. Nature Reviews Cancer, 14(6): 406-18


Ritsma L*, Ellenbroek SI*, Zomer A, Snippert HJ, de Sauvage FJ, Simons BD, Clevers H, van Rheenen J, (2014) Intestinal crypt homeostasis revealed at single-stem-cell level by in vivo live imaging. Nature, 507(7492): 362-5


Ritsma L, Vrisekoop N, van Rheenen (2013) In vivo imaging and histochemistry are combined in the cryosection labelling and intravital microscopy technique. Nat Commun., 4:2366


Ritsma, L.*, Steller, E.J.A.*, Beerling, E., Loomans, C.J.M., Zomer, A., Gerlach, C., Vrisekoop, N., Seinstra, D., van Gurp, L., Schäfer, R., Raats, D.A., de Graaff, A. Schumacher, T.N., de Koning, E.J.P. Borel Rinkes, I.H., Kranenburg, O. van Rheenen, J. (2012) Intravital Microscopy Through an Abdominal Imaging Window Reveals a Pre-Micrometastasis Stage During Liver Metastasis. Sci Transl Med 4, 158ra145.


Jalink K, van Rheenen, J (2010) Nano-imaging of membrane topography affects interpretations in cell biology. Nat. Meth. 7:486.


Snippert HJ, van der Vlier LG, Sato T, van Es JH, van der Born M, Kroen-Veenboer C, Barker N, Klein AM, van Rheenen J, Simons BD, Clevers H. (2010) Intestinal crypt homeostasis results from neutral competition between symmetrically dividing Lgr5 stem cells, Cell, 143(1): 134-144.

All publications

Vessel co-option mediates resistance to anti-angiogenic therapy in liver metastases
2016 in15819

SophiaFrentzas, EveSimoneau, Victoria LBridgeman, Peter BVermeulen, ShaneFoo, EleftheriosKostaras, Mark RNathan, AndrewWotherspoon, Zu-HuaGao, YuShi, GertVan den Eynden, FrancesDaley, ClarePeckitt, XianmingTan, AyatSalman, AnthoulaLazaris, PatrycjaGazinska, Tracy JBerg, ZakEltahir, LailaRitsma, Jaccovan Rheenen, AllaKhashper, GinaBrown, HannaNyström, MalinSund, StevenVan Laere, EvelyneLoyer, LucDirix, DavidCunningham, PeterMetrakos, Andrew RReynolds

Reg4+ deep crypt secretory cells function as epithelial niche for Lgr5+ stem cells in colon
2016 in21121

NobuoSasaki, NormanSachs, KayWiebrands, Saskia I JEllenbroek, AriannaFumagalli, AnnaLyubimova, HarryBegthel, Maaikevan den Born, Johan Hvan Es, Wouter RKarthaus, Vivian S WLi, CarmenLópez-Iglesias, Peter JPeters, Jaccovan Rheenen, Alexandervan Oudenaarden, HansClevers

Sequential intravital imaging reveals in vivo dynamics of pancreatic tissue transplanted under the kidney capsule in mice
2016 in25584

Léonvan Gurp, Cindy J MLoomans, Pim Pvan Krieken, GitanjaliDharmadhikari, ErikJansen, Femke C A SRingnalda, EvelyneBeerling, Jaccovan Rheenen, Eelco J Pde Koning

LIM Kinase Inhibitor Pyr1 Reduces the Growth and Metastatic Load of Breast Cancers
2016 in29183

ChloéPrunier, VéroniqueJosserand, JulienVollaire, EvelyneBeerling, ChristosPetropoulos, OlivierDestaing, ChristopherMontemagno, AmandineHurbin, RenaudPrudent, Leannede Koning, ReubenKapur, Pascale ACohen, CorinneAlbiges-Rizo, Jean-LucColl, Jaccovan Rheenen, MarcBillaud, LaurenceLafanechère

Implications of Extracellular Vesicle Transfer on Cellular Heterogeneity in Cancer
2016 in29183

AnoekZomer, Jaccovan Rheenen

A Vulnerability of a Subset of Colon Cancers with Potential Clinical Utility
2016 in18434

LoredanaVecchione, ValentinaGambino, JonneRaaijmakers, AndreasSchlicker, AriannaFumagalli, MariangelaRusso, AlbertoVillanueva, EvelyneBeerling, AliceBartolini, David GMollevi, NizarEl-Murr, MarielleChiron, LoreleyCalvet, CélineNicolazzi, CécileCombeau, ChristopheHenry, Iris MSimon, SunTian, SjorsIn 't Veld, GiovanniD'ario, SaraMainardi, Roderick LBeijersbergen, CorLieftink, SabineLinn, CorneliaRumpf-Kienzl, MauroDelorenzi, LodewykWessels, RamonSalazar, FedericaDi Nicolantonio, AlbertoBardelli, Jaccovan Rheenen, René HMedema, SabineTejpar, RenéBernards

Plasticity between Epithelial and Mesenchymal States Unlinks EMT from Metastasis-Enhancing Stem Cell Capacity
2016 in21100201068

EvelyneBeerling, DaniëlleSeinstra, Elzode Wit, LennartKester, Daphnevan der Velden, CarrieMaynard, RonnySchäfer, Paulvan Diest, EmileVoest, Alexandervan Oudenaarden, NienkeVrisekoop, Jaccovan Rheenen

Studying extracellular vesicle transfer by a Cre-loxP method
2016 in5800207366

AnoekZomer, Sander ChristiaanSteenbeek, CarrieMaynard, Jaccovan Rheenen

PTP1B-dependent regulation of receptor tyrosine kinase signaling by the actin-binding protein Mena
2015 in18605

Shannon KHughes, Madeleine JOudin, JennyTadros, JasonNeil, AmandaDel Rosario, Brian AJoughin, LailaRitsma, JeffWyckoff, ElizaVasile, RobertEddy, UlrikePhilippar, AlishaLussiez, John SCondeelis, Jaccovan Rheenen, ForestWhite, Douglas ALauffenburger, Frank BGertler

In Vivo imaging reveals extracellular vesicle-mediated phenocopying of metastatic behavior
2015 in18434

AnoekZomer, CarrieMaynard, Frederik JohannesVerweij, AlwinKamermans, RonnySchäfer, EvelyneBeerling, Raymond MichelSchiffelers, Elzode Wit, JordiBerenguer, Saskia Inge JohannaEllenbroek, ThomasWurdinger, Dirk MichielPegtel, Jaccovan Rheenen

The mechanisms and physiological relevance of glycocalyx degradation in hepatic ischemia/reperfusion injury
2014 in27514

Rowan Fvan Golen, Megan JReiniers, NienkeVrisekoop, Coert JZuurbier, Pim BOlthof, Jaccovan Rheenen, Thomas Mvan Gulik, Barry JParsons, MichalHeger

Imaging hallmarks of cancer in living mice
2014 in12464

Saskia I JEllenbroek, Jaccovan Rheenen

Intestinal crypt homeostasis revealed at single-stem-cell level by in vivo live imaging
2014 in21206

LailaRitsma, Saskia I JEllenbroek, AnoekZomer, Hugo JSnippert, Frederic Jde Sauvage, Benjamin DSimons, HansClevers, Jaccovan Rheenen

Surgical implantation of an abdominal imaging window for intravital microscopy
2013 in5800207366

L.Ritsma, E.J.Steller, S.I.Ellenbroek, O.Kranenburg, I.H.Rinkes, J.van Rheenen

A versatile toolkit to produce sensitive FRET biosensors to visualize signaling in time and space
2013 in11300153721

R.D.Fritz, M.Letzelter, A.Reimann, K.Martin, L.Fusco, L.Ritsma, B.Ponsioen, E.Fluri, S.Schulte-Merker, J.van Rheenen, O.Pertz

Intravital imaging of cancer stem cell plasticity in mammary tumors
2013 in14272

A.Zomer, S.I.Ellenbroek, L.Ritsma, E.Beerling, N.Vrisekoop, J.van Rheenen

In vivo imaging and histochemistry are combined in the cryosection labelling and intravital microscopy technique
2013 in19700182758

L.Ritsma, N.Vrisekoop, J.van Rheenen

Intravital FRET imaging of tumor cell viability and mitosis during chemotherapy
2013 in10600153309

A.Janssen, E.Beerling, R.Medema, J.van Rheenen

Tissue-resident memory CD8+ T cells continuously patrol skin epithelia to quickly recognize local antigen
2012 in21121

S.Ariotti, J.B.Beltman, G.Chodaczek, M.E.Hoekstra, A.E.van Beek, R.Gomez-Eerland, L.Ritsma, J.van Rheenen, A.F.Maree, T.Zal, R.J.de Boer, J.B.Haanen, T.N.Schumacher

Intravital microscopy through an abdominal imaging window reveals a pre-micrometastasis stage during liver metastasis
2012 in19700174677

L.Ritsma, E.J.Steller, E.Beerling, C.J.Loomans, A.Zomer, C.Gerlach, N.Vrisekoop, D.Seinstra, L.van Gurp, R.Schafer, D.A.Raats, A.de Graaff, T.N.Schumacher, E.de Koning, I.H.Rinkes, O.Kranenburg, J.van Rheenen