Travel Grant: S. De Keijzer (Chigaco)

I’m a post-doc in the Department of Tumor Immunology at the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre. I study the dynamics of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCR) with single-particle tracking microscopy, which I believe is a key approach to directly monitor the function of a protein or protein complex within its natural environment.

    I want to build an original and independent research line exploiting ultrasensitive imaging techniques and single-particle tracking microscopy to elucidate the process of GPCR signaling with a particular focus on cell migration in a human-related system. Therefore, I joined the Tumor Immunology Department where the findings from fundamental research is directly used in clinical trials,  developing novel immunotherapy approaches in the battle against cancer. Currently, I am studying the dynamics of prostaglandin receptors and their cross-talk, which are not only important for the migratory phenotype of antigen presenting cells dendritic cells but are also implicated in cancer metastasis.
Recently I acquired very interesting data involving the Prostaglandin GPCRs and the cytoskeleton. VVB-BMT travelling grant provided me the opportunity to visit Mark M. Rasenick, a distinguished professor at the University of Illinois, Chicago who works on G-protein signaling and the cytoskeleton in the department of Physiology and Biophysics. I visited him for two days and on the second day I gave a departmental seminar entitled “Prostaglandin receptor EP4 signals via both the inhibitory Gαi and the activating Gαs”. It was a great opportunity to discuss with him and his co-workers the content of the paper and collaborative grant applications.
Subsequently I presented my data at the Annual Biophysics meeting in Baltimore (2011), for which I also received the Committee for Professional Opportunities for Women travel award from the Biophysical Society. This meeting was an ideal platform to discuss my current research line with top notch scientist in the field.
My visit to the Rasenick lab and subsequent Biophysical society meeting was great for my pursuit to broaden the visibility of my research topics and the establishment of solid collaborations and grant applications. Therefore,  I’m very grateful to the VVB-BMT for their contribution that made my visit possible.