Korswagen: Developmental Biology

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The Korswagen group combines new methods in gene expression analysis with model organism genetics to investigate molecular mechanisms in developmental biology.

We focus on the genetic pathways that control cell fate determination and cell migration. As part of our research, we are developing new methods for multidimensional gene expression analysis. As a model, we use Caenorhabditis elegans. This small nematode offers a powerful genetic system to understand evolutionarily conserved mechanisms with single cell resolution in vivo.


Key publicationsView all publications

A switch from noncanonical to canonical Wnt signaling stops neuroblast migration through a Slt–Robo and RGA-9b/ARHGAP–dependent mechanism.

Rella, L., Fernandes Póvoa, E.F., Mars, J., Ebbing, A.L.P., Schoppink, L., Betist, M.C., Korswagen, H.C.

Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 118; e2013239118


Spatial transcriptomics of C. elegans males and hermaphrodites identifies sex-specific differences in gene expression patterns.

Ebbing, A., Vertesy, A., Betist, M.C., Spanjaard, B., Junker, J.P., Berezikov, E., van Oudenaarden, A., Korswagen, H.C.

Developmental Cell 47: 801-813.


SNX3-retromer requires an evolutionary conserved MON2:DOPEY2:ATP9A complex to mediate Wntless sorting and Wnt secretion.

McGough, I.J., de Groot, R.E.A., Jellett, A.P., Betist, M.C., Varandas, K.C., Danson, C.M., Heesom, K.J., Korswagen, H.C.*, Cullen, P.J.*

Nature Communications 9: 3737.


*Joint senior/corresponding authors.

Cell intrinsic modulation of Wnt signaling controls neuroblast migration in C. elegans.

Mentink, R.A., Middelkoop, T.C., Rella, L., Ji, N., van Oudenaarden, A., and Korswagen, H.C.

Developmental Cell 31: 188-201.


Feedback control of gene expression variability in the Caenorhabditis elegans Wnt pathway.

Ji, N., Middelkoop, T.C., Mentink, R.A., Betist, M.C., Tonegawa, S., Mooijman, D., Korswagen, H.C.* and van Oudenaarden, A.*

Cell 155: 869-880.


*Joint senior/corresponding authors

Wnt gradient formation requires retromer function in Wnt producing cells.

Coudreuse, D.Y.M., Roel, G., Betist, M.C., Destree, O. and Korswagen, H.C.

Science 312: 921-924.


Group leader

Rik Korswagen

Rik Korswagen is a group leader at the Hubrecht Institute and professor of Molecular Developmental Genetics at Utrecht University. He has a long standing interest in signal transduction mechanisms and has been focusing on the role of Wnt signaling in the development of the model organism C. elegans. In addition, he is combining new methods in gene expression analysis with genetics to study evolutionarily conserved mechanisms in cell fate determination, cell migration and lifespan regulation.

Scientific training and positions


Current other activities

Group members

Rik Korswagen

Group Leader

Euclides Povoa

Senior Researcher

Christa van der Veen

PhD Student

Erik Schild

PhD Student

Jonas Mars

PhD Student

Lucia Garcia del Valle

PhD Student

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