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 members van Rheenen

Sander Steenbeek

PhD Student
s.steenbeek at hubrecht.eu

Saskia Suijkerbuijk

s.suijkerbuijk at hubrecht.eu

Andreia Margarido

PhD student
a.margarido at hubrecht.eu

Andreia Margarido

Laura Bornes

PhD student
l.bornes at hubrecht.eu

Evelyne Beerling

e.beerling at hubrecht.eu

Frank Bos

f.bos at hubrecht.eu

Anko de Graaff

a.graaff at hubrecht.eu

Pim Toonen

p.toonen at hubrecht.eu

Saskia Ellenbroek

s.ellenbroek at hubrecht.eu

Maria Alieva Krasheninnikova

m.alieva at hubrecht.eu

Danielle Seinstra

PhD Student
d.seinstra at hubrecht.eu

Danielle Seinstra

Miquel Vizoso

m.vizoso at hubrecht.eu

Miquel Vizoso

Carrie Maynard

PhD Student
c.maynard at hubrecht.eu

Lotte Bruens

PhD Student

Arianna Fumagalli

PhD Student
a.fumagalli at hubrecht.eu

Jacco van Rheenen

Group leader
j.vanrheenen at hubrecht.eu

Jessica Morgner

j.morgner at hubrecht.eu

Colinda Scheele

PhD Student
c.scheele 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

Plasticity between Epithelial and Mesenchymal States Unlinks EMT from Metastasis-Enhancing Stem Cell Capacity
2016 in 21100201068

Evelyne Beerling, Daniëlle Seinstra, Elzo de Wit, Lennart Kester, Daphne van der Velden, Carrie Maynard, Ronny Schäfer, Paul van Diest, Emile Voest, Alexander van Oudenaarden, Nienke Vrisekoop, Jacco van Rheenen

LIM Kinase Inhibitor Pyr1 Reduces the Growth and Metastatic Load of Breast Cancers
2016 in 29183

Chloé Prunier, Véronique Josserand, Julien Vollaire, Evelyne Beerling, Christos Petropoulos, Olivier Destaing, Christopher Montemagno, Amandine Hurbin, Renaud Prudent, Leanne de Koning, Reuben Kapur, Pascale A Cohen, Corinne Albiges-Rizo, Jean-Luc Coll, Jacco van Rheenen, Marc Billaud, Laurence Lafanechère

A Vulnerability of a Subset of Colon Cancers with Potential Clinical Utility
2016 in 18434

Loredana Vecchione, Valentina Gambino, Jonne Raaijmakers, Andreas Schlicker, Arianna Fumagalli, Mariangela Russo, Alberto Villanueva, Evelyne Beerling, Alice Bartolini, David G Mollevi, Nizar El-Murr, Marielle Chiron, Loreley Calvet, Céline Nicolazzi, Cécile Combeau, Christophe Henry, Iris M Simon, Sun Tian, Sjors In 't Veld, Giovanni D'ario, Sara Mainardi, Roderick L Beijersbergen, Cor Lieftink, Sabine Linn, Cornelia Rumpf-Kienzl, Mauro Delorenzi, Lodewyk Wessels, Ramon Salazar, Federica Di Nicolantonio, Alberto Bardelli, Jacco van Rheenen, René H Medema, Sabine Tejpar, René Bernards

Implications of Extracellular Vesicle Transfer on Cellular Heterogeneity in Cancer
2016 in 29183

Anoek Zomer, Jacco van Rheenen

Studying extracellular vesicle transfer by a Cre-loxP method
2016 in 5800207366

Anoek Zomer, Sander Christiaan Steenbeek, Carrie Maynard, Jacco van Rheenen

Reg4+ deep crypt secretory cells function as epithelial niche for Lgr5+ stem cells in colon
2016 in 21121

Nobuo Sasaki, Norman Sachs, Kay Wiebrands, Saskia I J Ellenbroek, Arianna Fumagalli, Anna Lyubimova, Harry Begthel, Maaike van den Born, Johan H van Es, Wouter R Karthaus, Vivian S W Li, Carmen López-Iglesias, Peter J Peters, Jacco van Rheenen, Alexander van Oudenaarden, Hans Clevers

Sequential intravital imaging reveals in vivo dynamics of pancreatic tissue transplanted under the kidney capsule in mice
2016 in 25584

Léon van Gurp, Cindy J M Loomans, Pim P van Krieken, Gitanjali Dharmadhikari, Erik Jansen, Femke C A S Ringnalda, Evelyne Beerling, Jacco van Rheenen, Eelco J P de Koning

Vessel co-option mediates resistance to anti-angiogenic therapy in liver metastases
2016 in 15819

Sophia Frentzas, Eve Simoneau, Victoria L Bridgeman, Peter B Vermeulen, Shane Foo, Eleftherios Kostaras, Mark R Nathan, Andrew Wotherspoon, Zu-Hua Gao, Yu Shi, Gert Van den Eynden, Frances Daley, Clare Peckitt, Xianming Tan, Ayat Salman, Anthoula Lazaris, Patrycja Gazinska, Tracy J Berg, Zak Eltahir, Laila Ritsma, Jacco van Rheenen, Alla Khashper, Gina Brown, Hanna Nyström, Malin Sund, Steven Van Laere, Evelyne Loyer, Luc Dirix, David Cunningham, Peter Metrakos, Andrew R Reynolds

In Vivo imaging reveals extracellular vesicle-mediated phenocopying of metastatic behavior
2015 in 18434

Anoek Zomer, Carrie Maynard, Frederik Johannes Verweij, Alwin Kamermans, Ronny Schäfer, Evelyne Beerling, Raymond Michel Schiffelers, Elzo de Wit, Jordi Berenguer, Saskia Inge Johanna Ellenbroek, Thomas Wurdinger, Dirk Michiel Pegtel, Jacco van Rheenen

PTP1B-dependent regulation of receptor tyrosine kinase signaling by the actin-binding protein Mena
2015 in 18605

Shannon K Hughes, Madeleine J Oudin, Jenny Tadros, Jason Neil, Amanda Del Rosario, Brian A Joughin, Laila Ritsma, Jeff Wyckoff, Eliza Vasile, Robert Eddy, Ulrike Philippar, Alisha Lussiez, John S Condeelis, Jacco van Rheenen, Forest White, Douglas A Lauffenburger, Frank B Gertler

Imaging hallmarks of cancer in living mice
2014 in 12464

Saskia I J Ellenbroek, Jacco van Rheenen

Intestinal crypt homeostasis revealed at single-stem-cell level by in vivo live imaging
2014 in 21206

Laila Ritsma, Saskia I J Ellenbroek, Anoek Zomer, Hugo J Snippert, Frederic J de Sauvage, Benjamin D Simons, Hans Clevers, Jacco van Rheenen

The mechanisms and physiological relevance of glycocalyx degradation in hepatic ischemia/reperfusion injury
2014 in 27514

Rowan F van Golen, Megan J Reiniers, Nienke Vrisekoop, Coert J Zuurbier, Pim B Olthof, Jacco van Rheenen, Thomas M van Gulik, Barry J Parsons, Michal Heger

Surgical implantation of an abdominal imaging window for intravital microscopy
2013 in 5800207366

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 in 11300153721

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 in 14272

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 in 19700182758

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

Intravital FRET imaging of tumor cell viability and mitosis during chemotherapy
2013 in 10600153309

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 in 21121

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 in 19700174677

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