Group members

Davy Van De Vijver, BSc.



Davy Van De Vijver is a Research Technician in the DMD Genetic Therapy Group since March 2017.

His projects involve fiber-typing assays and the identification of candidate miRNA biomarkers in mouse serum. Analysis is performed using techniques like immunohistochemistry and fluorescence imaging, different molecular biological techniques and in vivo experiments.


Click here to see the publication list of Davy Van De Vijver

Group members

Kayleigh Putker, BSc.


Kayleigh Putker is a Research Technician in the DMD Genetic Therapy Group since June 2016.

Her projects involve the characterization of the natural disease history in mouse models for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Congenital muscular dystrophy and Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy. Analysis is performed by using techniques like fluorescence imaging and different molecular biological techniques.


Click here to see the publication list of Kayleigh Putker

Group members

Joke Boertje-van der Meulen, BSc.


Joke Boertje-van der Meulen was a Research Technician in the DMD Genetic Therapy Group since March 2013. She was working on several projects which involve testing (exon-skipping) AONs and other compounds to improve muscle quality in dystrophic muscles. Analysis was performed by using techniques like PCR, qPCR, Western blotting and immunofluorescent stainings.


Click here to see the publication list of Joke Boertje-van der Meulen

Group members

Kevin Adamzek, BSc.


Kevin Adamzek was a Research Technician in the DMD Genetic Therapy Group since March 2017. His project involved diffusion tensor imaging MRI to assess muscle pathology in DMD mouse models. Analysis was performed using techniques like MRI, immunohistochemistry, and gene expression analyses.


Click here to see the publication list of Kevin Adamzek

Group members

Svetlana Pasteuning-Vuhman, MSc.


Svetlana Pasteuning-Vuhman was a Ph.D. student in the DMD Genetic Therapy Group since February 2013. She was studying the role of TGF-β/myostatin signaling and its contributes to DMD pathology. She was also budy with the development of a method to selectively inhibit the function of type I TGF-β receptors based on antisense oligonucleotide-mediated exon skipping as a potential therapy for DMD.


Click here to see the publication list of Svetlana Pasteuning-Vuhman

Group members

Monika Hiller, BSc.


Monika Hiller was a Ph.D. student in the DMD Genetic Therapy Group since November 2011. She started working  in the group as Research Technician to validate serum biomarkers for Duchenne muscular dystrophy and other muscle diseases to monitor disease progression in patients. She was also involved in mouse studies to develop antisense-mediated exon skipping therapies for DMD.

In September 2014, Monika started her Ph.D. under the supervision of Prof. A. Aartsma-Rus and Dr. P. Spitali to elucidate mRNA-protein complexes to facilitate therapeutic approaches for DMD. The project involved work in cultured cell and animal models to study the stability of dystrophin transcripts. mRNA-protein interaction studies are examined with technologies such as mass spectrometry, RNA-Seq and imaging techniques.


Click here to see the publication list of Monika Hiller

Group members

Maaike van Putten, PhD


Dr. Maaike van Putten is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the DMD Genetic Therapy Group.

She specialized in working with experimental animals investigating muscle function, pathology and behaviour. She performed her PhD research at the department of Human Genetics of the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) under supervision of Prof. Dr. G.J.B. van Ommen and Dr. A. Aartsma-Rus. Here she studied functional performance and pathology in various animal models for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. In February 2013, she successfully defended her thesis titled: “The influence of low dystrophin levels on disease pathology in mouse models for Duchenne muscular dystrophy”.


To increase her technical expertise further, Maaike investigated physiological parameters in Duchenne mouse modelsas a postdoctoral fellow in the group of Prof. Dr. D.J. Wells at the Royal Veterinary College in London in 2012. For this work she received financial support from the Bontius Stichting (Leiden, the Netherlands). In 2013 she returned to work as a postdoc in the lab of Dr. A. Aartsma-Rus. Her current work focuses on studying skeletal muscle and heart function and pathology in aged animal models.

She has published 38 articles (11 as a first author, 11 as last author), presented her work at several international conferences and was awarded with 4 fellowships and 2 poster awards at various World Muscle Society congresses. She also successfully applied for several grant applications starting when she was a Master student.

Dr. van Putten is a member of the TREAT-NMD working group for standard operating procedures to test the effects of new treatments in animal models for DMD. She organises the Leiden Center of Translational Neuroscience (LCTN) network meetings and is responsible for managing experimental mouse work and GGO regulations in the exon skipping group.


Click here to see the publication list of dr. Maaike van Putten