Bakkers: Cardiac Development and Genetics

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The Bakkers group studies the genetics of cardiac development, regeneration and disease using the zebrafish model system.

Wide ranges of cardiac diseases are caused by genetic alterations, which affect normal cardiac development or function. We use the zebrafish model to identify genes and mechanisms that regulate normal heart development, function and regeneration, and that can contribute to cardiac diseases in humans. In addition, we model genetic cardiac diseases in zebrafish. The projects in the lab use a wide range of approaches including genetics, in vivo microscopy, tomo-seq and single-cell RNA-seq.

Key publicationsView all publications

Macrophages provide a transient muscle stem cell niche via NAMPT secretion.

Ratnayake D, Nguyen PD [...] Bakkers J and, Currie PD



Zebrafish prrx1a mutants have normal hearts.

Tessadori F, de Bakker DEM [...] Crump JG and, Bakkers J

Nature 585, E14-E16


Developmental Cell 32, 631-639


Mutations in SGOL1 cause a novel cohesinopathy affecting heart and gut rhythm.

Chetaille P, Côté J, Burkhard S [...] Bakkers J and, Andelfinger G

Nature Genetics 46, 1245-1249


Genome-wide RNA tomography in the zebrafish embryo.

Junker JP, Noël ES [...] Bakkers J and, van Oudenaarden A

Cell 159, 662-675


A Nodal-independent and tissue-intrinsic mechanism controls heart-looping chirality.

Noël ES, Verhoeven M, [...], den Hertog J and, Bakkers J

Nature Communications 4, 2754


Group leader

Jeroen Bakkers

Jeroen Bakkers is group leader at the Hubrecht Institute and professor of Molecular Cardiogenetics at the University Medical Center Utrecht. His group uses the zebrafish (Danio rerio) as a model system to study various processes. The research lines of the Bakkers group include unraveling the genetics of normal cardiac development and body axis formation during development, investigating the molecular mechanisms of heart regeneration in the zebrafish and how this can be compared to heart injury in the mammals, and modeling of human (cardiac) disease in the zebrafish to unravel biological mechanisms behind the disease and to identify new drug targets.

Scientific training and positions

Current other activities

Group members

Jeroen Bakkers

Group Leader

Sonja Chocron


Federico Tessadori


Phong Nguyen


Sven Willekers

PhD Student

Dennis de Bakker

PhD Student

Sarah Kamel

PhD Student

Hessel Honkoop

PhD Student

Henriette van Beijnum

PhD Student

Mara Bouwman


Juliette Suermondt


Tamara Borsboom


Herma Algra


Iris Gooijers


Carlijn Friedrichs


Eva van Alebeek


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Lab alumni