Research Groups

Baron group

Our research focuses on myelin biogenesis in health and disease (particularly multiple sclerosis, MS) on topics related to trafficking and signalling in oligodendrocytes. We have identified the polarized nature of oligodendrocytes, in which cognate apical-like and basolateral-like trafficking routes exist for the transport of protein and lipids to the cell body plasma membrane and myelin membrane, respectively. Another aspect of our work aims at revealing the role of neuronal factors and the relevance of various extracellular matrix constituents present in MS lesions that modulate oligodendrocyte differentiation and myelination. We have identified environmental signalling abnormalities in MS lesions, such as fibronectin aggregates and the persistent presence of neuronal galectin-4, that hamper oligodendrocyte maturation. Currently, we aim to devise strategies that reverse signal malfunctioning of fibronectin aggregates and galectin-4 so as to favor the development of therapeutics to promote endogenous remyelination and/or overcome remyelination failure in MS lesions, thereby halting disease progression. Recently we started to study remyelination efficiency from a heterogeneity point of view considering both regional differences between glial cells present in the grey and white matter as well as differences between glial cells of people with and without MS.

  • People
  • Publications
  • Grants
  • Dissertations
  • Students
  • Alumni
  • Links
  • Wia Baron PhD Visit

    Principal Investigator

    Research fields

    Myelin biogenesis, multiple sclerosis (MS), trafficking and signalling in oligodendrocytes, ECM

    PhD students
    Naomi Dijksman MSc
      • Selected Publications: 
      1. Baron W, Ozgen H, Klunder B, de Jonge JC, Nomden A, Plat A, Trifilieff E, de Vries H, Hoekstra D. (2015), The major myelin-resident protein PLP is transported to myelin membranes via a transcytotic mechanism: involvement of sulfatide. Mol Cell Biol. 35, 288-302. (pdf)
      2. Stoffels JM, de Jonge JC, Stancic M, Nomden A, van Strien ME, Ma D, Siskova Z, Maier O, ffrench-Constant C, Franklin RJ, Hoekstra D, Zhao C, Baron W. (2013), Fibronectin aggregation in multiple sclerosis lesions impairs remyelination. Brain 136, 116-131. (pdf)
      3. Stancic M, Slijepceviv D, Nomden A, Vos MJ, de Jonge JC, Sikkema AH, Gabius HJ, Hoekstra D, Baron W. (2012), Galectin-4, a novel neuronal regulator of myelination. Glia 60, 919-935. (pdf)
      4. Stancic M, van Horssen J, Thijssen VL, Gabius HJ, van der Valk P, Hoekstra D, Baron W (2011), Increased expression of different galectins in multiple sclerosis lesions. Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol 37, 654-671.  (pdf )
      5. Maier O, Baron W, Hoekstra D. (2007), Reduced raft-association of NF155 in active MS-lesions is accompanied by the disruption of the paranodal junction. Glia 55, 885-895.  (pdf)
      6. Maier O, de Jonge JC, Nomden A, Hoekstra D, Baron W. (2009), Lovastatin induces the formation of abnormal myelin-like membrane sheets in primary oligodendrocytes. Glia 57, 402-413.  (pdf)
      7. Siskova Z, Baron W, de Vries H, Hoekstra D. (2006), Fibronectin impedes ‘myelin’ sheet-directed flow in oligodendrocytes: a role for a beta 1 integrin-mediated PKC signaling pathway in vesicular trafficking. Mol Cell Neurosci, 150-159. (pdf)
      8. Baron W, Decker L, Colognato H, ffrench-Constant C. (2003), Regulation of integrin growth factor interactions in oligodendrocytes by lipid raft microdomains. Curr Biol 13, 151-155. (pdf)
      9. Colognato H, Baron W, Avellan-Adaiod V, Relvas JB, Baron-van Evercooren A, Georges-Labouesse E., ffrench-Consant C. (2002), CNS integrin switch growth factor signaling to promote target-dependent survival. Nat Cell Biol. 4, 833-841. (pdf)
      10. Baron W, Shattil SJ, ffrench-Constant C (2002), The oligodendrocyte precursor mitogen PDGF stimulates proliferation by activation of αvβ3 integrins. EMBO J 21, 833-841. (pdf)
  • Ongoing projects/grants (selection):

    2018-2023: Program Grant Stichting MS Research (with MSCNN) : An integrative analysis of MS lesions to prepare the scene for effective remyelination therapy

    2018-2019: Out-of-the-box grant, Moves and Stichting MS Research (with Bart Eggen): On the cause of MS: an integrative approach to detect the first events in normal appearing MS grey and white matter.

    2017-2021: Project grant Stichting MS Research (with Inge Zuhorn): Delivery of a novel therapeutic drug to the brain for myelin repair in multiple sclerosis

    2017-2022: National Lotery ‘ VriendenLoterij grant, Stichting MS Research (with MSCNN): Establishment of an MS patient-derived iPS cell bank: towards a human MS lesion model in a dish

  • Dissertation supervised by W. Baron (co-promotor or assessor):


    Wang, P. (2018). On the role of macrophages, microglia and the extracellular matrix in remyelination [Groningen]: University of Groningen


    Bijlard, M. (2016). On the cause of multiple sclerosis: Molecular mechanisms regulating myelin biogenesis [Groningen]: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen


    Stoffels, J. (2014). Multiple sclerosis, remyelination and the role of fibronectin [S.L.]: s.n.

    Ozgen, H. (2014). Myelin biogenesis: Dynamics of MBP, PLP and galactolipids [S.l.]: [S.n.]


    Mirjana Stancic (2012; Co-promotor: Wia Baron)


    Bert Klunder (2007; Co-promotor: Wia Baron)


    Susanne Siskova (2006; Co-promotor: Wia Baron)


    Baron, W. (1999). Signaling in oligodendrocyte progenitor cells. s.n.


  • Student projects:

    Students (bachelor, masters or technician school) who are interested to perform an internship in our group are welcome to apply. We have ample opportunities, and I would be happy to explain our research goals and possibilities for research projects in more detail. Minimal length is 3 months.

    You can apply via this application form.

  • PhD students:
    Zuzana Šišková (2006)
    Bert Klunder (2007)
    Mirjana Stancic (2012)
    Josephine Stoffels (2014)
    Hande Ozgen (2014)
    Marjolein Bijlard (2016)
    Peng Wang (2018)
    Jing Qin (tba)

    Olaf Maier
    Tiemen van der Heide
    Michel Vos
    Erik Sikkema

    Anita Nomden
    Bojana Mikus

  • MS Center Noord-Nederland (MSCNN)


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