Research Groups

Coppes group

Radiotherapy is involved in 75% of all cancer treatments. The dose that can be delivered to the tumor however is limited to the tolerance of the surrounding normal tissues. Therefore, the Coppes lab focusses on the effects of radiation on normal tissues.

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  • Dissertations
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  • Rob Coppes PhD Visit

    Principal Investigator

    Research fields

    Effects of radiation on normal tissues

    Associate professor
    In memoriam
    Hette Faber (former technician in Rob Coppes group)
    PhD students
    postdoctoral fellows
      1.  Sondorp LH, Ogundipe VM#, Groen AH#, Kelder W, Kemper A, Links TP, Coppes RP*, Kruijff S*. Patient-Derived Papillary Thyroid Cancer Organoids for Radioactive Iodine Refractory Screening. Cancers 2020, Oct 31;12(11):E3212. https://doi: 10.3390/cancers12113212
      2. Peng X, Wu Y, Brouwer U, van Vliet T, Wang B, Demaria M, Barazzuol L*, Coppes RP*. Cellular senescence contributes to radiation-induced hyposalivation by affecting the stem/progenitor cell niche. Cell Death Dis. 2020 Oct 14;11(10):854. https://doi: 10.1038/s41419-020-03074-9
      3. Barazzuol L*, Coppes RP*, van Luijk P*. Prevention and treatment of radiotherapy-induced side effects. Mol Oncol. 2020;14:1538–1554. https://doi: 10.1002/1878-0261.12750
      4.  Serrano Martinez P, Cinat D, van Luijk P, Baanstra M, de Haan G, Pringle S, Coppes RP. Mouse parotid salivary gland organoids for the in vitro study of stem cell radiation response. Oral Dis. 2020;10.1111/odi.13475.
      5. Wang D, Nagle PW, Wang HH, Smit JK, Faber H, Baanstra M, Karrenbeld A, Chiu RK, Plukker JTM, Coppes RP. Hedgehog Pathway as a Potential Intervention Target in Esophageal Cancer. Cancers (Basel). 2019 Jun 13;11(6). https://doi: 10.3390/cancers11060821
      6. Nagle PW, van Goethem MJ, Kempers M, Kiewit H, Knopf A, Langendijk JA, Brandenburg S, van Luijk P, Coppes RP. In vitro biological response of cancer and normal tissue cells to proton irradiation not affected by an added magnetic field. Radiother Oncol. 2019 May 11;137:125-129.
      7.  Nagle, PW, Hosper NA, Barazzuol L, Jellema AL, Baanstra M, van Goethem MJ, Brandenburg S, Giesen U, Langendijk JA, van Luijk P, Coppes RP. Lack of DNA damage response at low radiation doses in adult stem cells contributes to organ dysfunction. Clin Cancer Res 2018; 24:24, 6583–93.
      8. Pringle S, Maimets M, van der Zwaag M, Stokman MA, van Gosliga D, Zwart E, ... Coppes RP. (2016). Human Salivary Gland Stem Cells Functionally Restore Radiation Damaged Salivary Glands. Stem cells, 34(3), 640-652.
      9. Maimets M, Rocchi C, Bron R, Pringle S, Kuipers J, Giepmans BNG, ... Coppes RP. (2016).Long-Term In Vitro Expansion of Salivary Gland Stem Cells Driven by Wnt Signals. Stem Cell Reports, 150-162.
      10.  van Luijk P, Pringle S, Deasy JO, Moiseenko VV, Faber H, Hovan A, ... Coppes RP. (2015). Sparing the region of the salivary gland containing stem cells preserves saliva production after radiotherapy for head and neck cancer. Science Translational Medicine, 7(305), 305-147.
  • Next to the physiological mechanism interaction within and between irradiated tissues, the lab is interested in the response of stem cells to radiation and subsequent regeneration of damaged tissues. We developed in vivo and in vitro models on purification and characterization of mice, rat and human neuronal, salivary, thyroid gland and esophagus stem/progenitor cells. Recently we developed a protocol for adult stem cell therapy for radiation-induced hyposalivation and consequential xerostomia, which is now being translated to the clinic. Currently, the lab is investigating the possibly to use patient derived tissue and tumor derived organoids as a model to develop personalized medicine.

    Current projects:

    • ZonMW: Development of a 3D matrix for the culturing of adult tissue stem cells for therapeutic purposes
    • Stichting Tekke Huizinga Fonds: Adult stem cells of the murine and human thyroid gland: expansion and functionality
    • ZonMw: Transplantation of Adult Salivary Gland Stem Cells to Restore Salivary Gland Function after Radiotherapy
    • Dutch Cancer Society: Cell therapy to reduce radiation-toxicity to salivary glands
  • Selected ongoing projects/grants

    2019-2023 Project leader of Dutch Cancer Society grant (No. 12458):  “Treatment of radiation-induced hyposalivation cell therapy (STOPXERO)” (€645.000)

    2019-2023 Principle Investigator of Dutch Cancer Society grant (No. 12134):  “Preclinical testing of prophylactic treatments for radiotherapy-induced cardiopulmonary complications (AVERT)”

    2018-2022 Project leader of Dutch Cancer Society consortium grant (No. 12092):  “Increasing therapeutic window of proton therapy in brain, head and neck cancer (INTO-PROT)” (€1.700.00).

    2018-2022 Principle Investigator of Dutch Cancer Society infrastructure grant (No. 11766):  “IMage guided Proton/pArticle infrastructure for pre-Clinical sTudies (IMPACT)” with project leader S. Brandenburg (KVI-CART) (€2.800.000).

    2018 Project leader UMCG Kanker Researchfonds Grant: Modulation of cancer and normal tissue derived organoids response to cancer treatment (€10.500).

    2018-2022 Principle Investigator of Dutch Cancer Society grant (No. 11349): “ Hemodynamic changes in the cardiopulmonary circulation after thoracic radiotherapy” project leader P.van Luijk (€600.000).

    2017-2021: Principle Investigator of Dutch Cancer Society Young Investigator Grant (No. 10851) of Schelto Kruijff: “Precision Thyroid cAncer surgery with intraoperative molecular fluoRescent Guided imaging to rEduce overtreatmenT and postoperative morbidity (TARGET)

    2017-2021: Project leader of Dutch Cancer Society grant (No. 10650): “Autologous stem cell therapy for cancer treatment induced hypothyroidism” with Thera Links and John Plukker. (€520.000).

    2017-2021: WP leader and Principle Investigator EU Grant (Grant Agreement number: 755523): (MEDIRAD) “Implications of Medical Low Dose Radiation Exposure” with JA Langendijk (€800.000).

    2009-2021: Principle Investigator of ZonMw Grant (nr. 11.600.1023): “Transplantation of Adult Salivary Gland Stem Cells to Restore Salivary Gland Function after Radiotherapy” (€2.000.000).

  • Dissertations supervised by Rob P. Coppes ((co-) promotor or assessor):


    Hernandez Segura, A. (2019). Heterogeneity of Cellular Senescence and its Implications for the Development of Markers. [Groningen]: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.

    Peng, J. (2019). Radiation-induced cellular senescence in salivary glands. [Groningen]: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.


    Nagle, P.W.K. (2018). The use of organoids in the study of radiation response and therapeutic window. . [Groningen]: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen


    Wieringa, H. (2017). Targeting the DNA damage response in cervical cancer[Groningen]: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

    Wang, D. (2017). Towards a more personalized approach in the treatment of esophageal cancer focusing on predictive factors in response to chemoradiation [Groningen]: University of Groningen


    Klunder, L. J. (2016). Effects of lifestyle and environmental factors on intestinal epithelial cell morphogenesis [Groningen]: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

    Maimets, M. (2016). Potential of salivary gland stem cells in regenerative medicine[Groningen]: University of Groningen

    van der Veen, S. J. (2016). Radiation-induced cardiopulmonary dysfunction: Pathophysiology & Intervention strategies [Groningen]: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

    Pattje, W. J. (2016). Radiosensitivity and metastasis in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck: a molecular approach [Groningen]: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

    Spanjer, A. I. R. (2016). The WNT receptor Frizzled-8 in pulmonary remodelling and inflammation [Groningen]: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen


    Wiegman, E. M. (2014). Prediction and prevention of radiation induced lung toxicityGroningen: s.n.

    Nanduri, L. (2014). Salivary gland stem cells [S.l.]: [S.n.]


    Ghobadi, G. (2013). Pathophysiology of thoracic irradiation Groningen: s.n.

    Smit, J. K. (2013). Response evaluation of chemoradiotherapy in esophageal cancerGroningen: s.n.


    Coppes, M. H. (2000). Discogenic low back pain: lumbar spondylodesis revisitedGroningen: s.n.


    Coppes, R. C. (1997). Credit and market risk. An analysis of capital requirements for banking institutions


    Coppes, R. P. (1993). Modulation of noradrenergic neurotransmission by prejunctional auto- and heteroreceptors in the freely moving rat Drukkerij FEBO Enschede


    Coppes, A. H. J. (1948). Maatregelen en instellingen op het gebied der volksgezondheid in de stad van 100.000 inwoners. Groningen: s.n.

  • Student projects:

    • Radiation response of normal tissue and tumor stem cells
    • Involvement of YAP/TAS pathway in salivary gland stem cells maintenance.
    • Notch signalling in salivary gland stem cells
    • Role of GDNF in salivary gland stem cell expansion
    • Thyroid gland stem cells expansion

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    • Postdocs:
      Maarten Niemantsverdriet
      Sarah Pringle
      Nynke Hosper

      PhD students:
      Ghazaleh Ghodabi
      Isabelle Lombaert
      Martti Maimets
      Lalitha Nanduri
      Alena Novakova Jiresova
      Justin Smit
      Sonja van der Veen
      Erwin Wiegman

    • ESTRO cancer foundation movie to raise awareness of Radiotherapy benefits

      150 years Marie Curie – website

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