Van Amerongen Lab     -      Developmental & Cancer Biology

Section of Molecular Cytology    -     Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences    -     University of Amsterdam  



principal investigator

Renée received her MSc from the Vrije Universiteit (1999, cum laude) and her PhD from the University of Amsterdam (2005, also cum laude). She did her PhD with Anton Berns at the Netherlands Cancer Institute and was a postdoc with Roel Nusse at Stanford University.
In 2013 she was appointed as MacGillavry fellow and tenure track assistant professor at the UvA. She was promoted to associate professor (with tenure) in 2017.
Renée is an NWO VIDI laureate (2014) with more than 20 years of active research experience in Wnt signaling. She is also an elected member of the ENBDC organizing committee (European Network for Breast Development and Cancer labs) and an editorial board member of the Journal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia. (complete CV here, updated 01/2019)

senior postdoc

Katrin received her MSc degree in Human Biology from the University of Marburg in 2008. During her PhD with Martin Eilers at the Biocenter in Würzburg, Katrin focused on MYC oncoproteins and developed her passion for mammary gland biology and breast cancer research. She received her PhD in 2016 (summa cum laude).
Katrin joined the lab in January 2015 and works on identifying and manipulating the mammary stem cell niche. In 2016, she was awarded a 2-year Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Individual Fellowship. In collaboration with the UvA-FNWI career service, Katrin also established the SILS career lunch series, which aims to inspire PhD students and postdocs to take charge of their own career development by exploring different career perspectives. In January 2019 her temporary position became permanent and in July 2019 she was awarded a highly competitive NWO VENI grant.


Amber received her BASc degree in 2013, after completing internships at the Utrecht Medical Center and the Netherlands Cancer Institute. She briefly worked as a technician for Jos Jonkers at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in 2013 and joined the group in November of the same year. She has established the primary three-dimensional organoid culture system in the lab and continues to explore other complex in vitro culture systems. In December 2017 her temporary position became permanent.

Postdocs & PhD students

PhD student

Yorick received his BSc from Utrecht University in 2013. In 2017 he obtained his MSc degree from the same university, after performing internships at the University Medical Center in Utrecht and at Stanford University (USA). He joined the group in February 2017 and works on identifying the mammary stem cell niche.

PhD student

Nika received her MSc degree from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam in December 2013. During the Master Oncology she worked as an intern in the labs of Tom Wurdinger (VUmc Cancer Center Amsterdam) and Puck Knipscheer (Hubrecht Institute, Utrecht). In 2014 she did an extracurricular internship in the lab of David Virshup at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore, where she worked on Wnt signaling. Nika joined the group in October 2014 and works on identifying the mammary stem cell niche.

PhD student

In 2016 Saskia received her MSc degree (cum laude) from the University of Amsterdam, where she followed the track "Cell Biology and Advanced Microscopy". During her master she did an internship in the van Amerongen lab and went abroad for her second internship with Nadine Peyriéras (CNRS, Gif-sur-Yvette France). Saskia returned to the group to start a PhD in September 2016 and uses advanced microscopy techniques to further elucidate molecular mechanisms of Wnt signaling. This project is carried out in close collaboration with Dr. Mark Hink.


Larissa received her MSc in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in 2013, specialising in Developmental Biology. She then pursued her PhD work in the laboratory of Silvia Fre at the Institut Curie in Paris, where she focused in the identification and molecular characterisation of an intestinal cancer stem cell population expressing the Notch1 receptor. Larissa was awarded her PhD in 2017. She joined the group in January 2018 to work on the role of aberrant Wnt signalling in breast cancer, using both mouse and human (breast cancer) three-dimensional organoid cultures.

Current Wntlab students

BSc student

Kyah is a BSc student in the Biomedical Sciences program of the University of Amsterdam (excellence track). She is performing her BSc internship in the lab under the supervision of Katrin and is identifying and characterizing putative Wnt enhancer sequences.

BSc student

Beau is a third-year BSc student in the Biomedical Sciences program of the University of Amsterdam. During her five-month internship under the supervision of Saskia en Yorick, she will use CRISPR/Cas9 to tag endogenous APC to study its spatiotemporal changes using microscopy.

BSc student

Delano is a 20-year old BSc student in the Biomedical Sciences program of the University of Amsterdam. During his five month internship under the supervision of Larissa, he will investigate the effect of breast matrix stiffness and Wnt signaling on the growth of human breast tissue, using primary 3D breast organoids and confocal microscopy.

MSc student

Rianne received her BSc in Neurosciences from the University of Amsterdam in 2018. After completing an internship studying vascular pharmacology at the Erasmus MC Rotterdam and a programming minor at the UvA, Rianne knew she preferred a molecular focus and opted for the master Cell Biology and Advanced Microscopy. She joined the group in December 2018 for her first MSc internship under the supervision of Saskia to perform an advanced microscopy study into the molecular composition and stability of the beta-catenin destruction complex, which is important in WNT signal transduction. This project is carried out in close collaboration with Dr. Marten Postma.