23 February 2017

Promotion Pieterjan Dierickx

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Pieterjan Dierickx from the Geijsen groep has his thesis defence today about the influence of the biological clock on cardiac cells. 

A dysfunctioning biological clock can have a negative impact on the cardiovascular system, although the precise mechanism is still unknown. Pieterjan Dierickx created cardiac cells in the lab out of embryonal stem cells to study this relation between the heart and an internal clock. He was mainly interested in the different influence of the biological clock on either stem cells or matured and specialized cells. He noticed that the stem cells didn’t have a full biological clock system but did use some ‘clock proteins’, so they could be affected by sleeping or anti-jetlag medication. The specialized cardiac cells that he grew in the lab did have a full functioning clock system, so they represent a useful model to further study the influence of the biological clock on heart cells.