Group members

Ingrid Verhaart, PhD


Dr. Ingrid Verhaart is a postdoctoral researcher in the DMD Genetic Therapy Group since februari 2018.

She studied Biomedical Sciences at the Leiden University from 2004 to 2009. During her PhD at the department of Human Genetics of the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) under supervision of prof. dr. Gertjan van Ommen and dr. Annemieke Aartsma-Rus she worked on the pre-clinical optimization of antisense oligonucleotide (AON) mediated exon skipping for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). In May 2014 she defended her thesis titled: “Optimising antisense oligonucleotide-mediated exon skipping for Duchenne muscular dystrophy”. Thereafter she has worked at the Newcastle University on spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), DMD and muscular dystrophy type 1 (DM1).

In February 2018 she returned to the DMD genetic therapy group. She is currently involved in the validation lab, which aims to evaluate compounds that may be of benefit to Duchenne patients in preclinical DMD animal models. Next to her work in the validation lab, she also works for the Duchenne Parent Project (DPP)/World Duchenne Organization (WDO). Ingrid has authored 18 articles, of which 13 as a first author, and a book chapter.


Click here to see the publication list of dr. Ingrid Verhaart

Group members

Silvana Jirka, BSc.


Silvana Jirka was a Ph.D. student in the DMD Genetic Therapy Group. She started her PhD in January 2012 under the supervision of Dr A.a.Aartsma-Rus and her promotor was Professor Dr. G.J. van Ommen. During her Ph.D. she focused on the optimization of the antisense oligonucleotide (AON) approach for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD).

Her first work is published in the special exon skipping edition of the journal Nucleic acid therapeutics February 2014. In 2013 she received a poster award at the Oligonucleotide Therapeutic Society (OTS) meeting in Italy Napels 2013.


Click here to see the publication list of Silvana Jirka

Group members

Margriet Hulsker, BSc.


Margriet Hulsker was a Research Technician in the DMD Genetic Therapy Group since May 2010. Her project involved quantification of dystrophin levels in mouse tissues by different techniques like western blotting, imunostaining and PCR. Futhermore, the optimalisation of the Western blotting technique is high priority in her work.


Click here to see the publication list of Margriet Hulsker

Group members

Isabella Houweling-Gazzoli, PhD


Dr. Isabella Houweling-Gazzoli was a Postdoctoral Researcher in the DMD Genetic Therapy Group since October 2009. She was involved in the transcriptome analysis of the DMD gene and in exploring AON-mediated exon skipping as a potential therapeutic approach for Dysferlinopathies. She previously worked for two different biotechnology companies (DSM Anti-Infectives, Delft and Genmab BV, Molecular Biology Unit, Utrecht). She also performed research at Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, UCSD, La Jolla, CA, USA and received her Ph.D. degree in Molecular Genetics, Utrecht University (Promotors: Prof. Dr. Hans Clevers and Prof. Dr. Richard Kolodner).


Click here to see the publication list of dr. Isabella Houweling-Gazzoli