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Hans van Leeuwen

Faculty and Associates

vleeuwen_smHans (J.P.T.M.) van Leeuwen studied biology at the Free University in Amsterdam. He performed his Ph.D work on the signalling mechanism of parathryroid hormone action in osteoblasts at the Department of Cell Biology, University of Leiden. After his PhD, he was asked to build a research group focussing on calcium and bone metabolism at the Department of Internal Medicine, Erasmus University Rotterdam. His group extensively contributed to the understanding of vitamin D action and demonstrated the impact of ligands on vitamin D receptor conformation and the significance of response elements for vitamin D receptor binding. He started a project on genetics of osteoporosis in 1994, which developed into a strong and new independent research line. Research on the TRPV family demonstrated involvement of these membrane channels in bone metabolism. Over the past decade research also encompassed investigations of in vitro human bone formation models, identification of bone anabolics, and the molecular control of human bone cell development. The clinical focus is both bone formation and heterotopic calcification (e.g. arteries). Expression profiling identified specific gene and miRNA signatures providing clues for the genetic basis of osteoblast and mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) differentiation. This encompasses the role energy metabolism and oxygen tension on MSC differentiation and osteoblast function. The interaction of MSC/osteoblast with hematopoietic cells and with bone metastasising cancer cells is part of these studies. These studies aim to unravel the molecular basis of 1) HSC-MSC/osteoblast interaction and thereby to improve HSC transplantation (together with Prof. J. Cornelissen,) and 2) skeletal metastasis of breast and prostate cance cells. He is currently appointed as professor of Calcium and Bone Metabolism at the Erasmus MC and is founder of a start-up company (Therosteon) focussing on bone anabolic therapeutics. He is member of the executive board of the European Calcified Tissue Society and committee member of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.

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