University of Wageningen, The Netherlands
Lead contact: Prof Dr Renger Witkamp
Wageningen University is part of Wageningen University and Research Centre. The University provides education and generates knowledge in the field of life sciences and natural resources. The Division of Human Nutrition hosts approximately 450 students, including more than 60 PhD students. There are five chair groups within the division which have joined their expertise and facilities in order to provide an integrated approach in nutrition education and research. The Division of Human Nutrition has alliances with several institutes inside and outside the Netherlands, including several EU-funded projects. The chair of Nutrition and Pharmacology (Prof Renger F. Witkamp) focuses at the effects of bioactive substances, in particular lipids, in nutrition and the relation between medicines and food from a scientific and clinical perspective. The group has access to state-of-the-art facilities to perform molecular, preclinical and clinical research in these fields.
Short profile of the staff members who will be undertaking the work:
Dr Klaske van Norren (employed both at DANONE and at WUR). She graduated cum laude for both phases of the study of Medical Biology (Utrecht University). She obtained her PhD at the Nijmegen University and at DANONE has gained more than 10 years experience in research on clinical nutrition for surgical, oncology and HIV patients. She recently joined the group of Prof Dr R Witkamp at the WUR, an employment alongside her job at DANONE. This enables Dr van Norren to combine and exploit her know-how on clinical nutrition with the extensive know-how on nutrition, nutrigenomics, and hunger and satiety as present in the nutrition delta in Wageningen of which WUR is the key player. She has more than 20 papers and 14 patents. Many papers were in high impact factor journals. (EMBO J, Nucleic Acids Res, Am J Clin Nutr, Clin Chem and 3 papers in Br J Cancer). She presented her work at international conferences in more than 30 abstracts, e.g. in 2009 she presented 4 orals and 1 poster.
Prof Dr Renger Witkamp was appointed as Professor of the newly established chair position in Nutrition and Pharmacology in 2006. Since then he has been steadily expanding the research group. This group is working in the Food-Pharma interface by applying pharmacological concepts to nutrition and vice versa. His main research focuses on lipid-derived actives acting via the endocannabinoid system in relation to appetite regulation, obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Within a few years the group has developed into a pioneering team on the role of the endocannabinoid system in relation to nutrition. Recently, a series of novel nutrition-derived endocannabinoids were discovered by the group. Prof Witkamp is also part-time (0.4) employed by TNO, the Netherlands Organisation of Applied Scientific Research, where he is scientific coordinator of the nutrition and health program. Recent other activities include a membership of the EFSA (DATEX) Working Group on the potential health impact of β-casomorphins and related peptides, and the directorship of the European Nutrition Leadership Program. He is (co-) author of more than 80 peer-reviewed papers and several book chapters.
Dr J Meijerink works as an assistant professor in the group of Prof Dr R Witkamp. Within the group she is responsible for the recently established research line focussing on bio-active lipid ECs with anti-inflammatory properties. She has a broad background in neurobiology, physiology and identification of bioactive components. She gained international experience during a Marie Curie fellowship performing imaging in the brain.