Janine van Gils, PhD

My research interest is the role of neuronal guidance cues in inflammation and vascular biology. The ligands and receptors of the Neuronal Guidance Cues (NGCs) are emerging as significant regulators of inflammation. As a post-doc in the in the lab of Prof. K.J. Moore at Harvard Medical School and New York University I received an excellent training in atherosclerosis biology and gained the foundation for my vast interest and knowledge on neuronal guidance cues. A personal fellowship from the American Heart Association allowed me to demonstrate that the NGC netrin-1 is highly expressed and secreted by macrophages and promotes atherosclerosis by inhibiting the emigration of macrophages from the plaques. A paper describing this work, that was published in Nature immunology (van Gils et al. Nat Immunol. 2012), received international interest and was awarded the Vascular Biology Award in 2012. In subsequent studies, we provided evidence that several NGCs may also be involved in the adhesion of leukocytes to endothelial cells and the subsequent migration of leukocytes into the subendothelial space.

As a PI, I obtained research funding from the Dutch Heart Foundation, Rembrandt Institute on Cardiovascular Science and European Research Area Network on Cardiovascular Diseases. With these I have established my own research line on NGCs and atherosclerosis in the Einthoven Laboratory. My goal is to acquire a deeper insight into the role of NGCs in atherosclerosis and take the next step towards translation and assess the clinical relevance in patients with coronary artery disease.

Key publications
– Bruikman CS et al. Netrin-1 and the Grade of Atherosclerosis Are Inversely Correlated in Humans. Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. 2019
– Bruikman CS and van Gils JM. Netrin-1 in coronary artery disease (CAD): mechanism of action and potential as a therapeutic target. Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets. 2019
– Zhang H et al. Understanding netrins and semaphorins in mature endothelial cell biology. Pharmacological Research. 2018
– Van Gils JM and Ramkhelawon B et al. Endothelial expression of guidance cues in vessel wall homeostasis: Dysregulation in pro-atherosclerotic conditions. Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. 2013.
– Van Gils JM et al. The neuroimmune guidance cue netrin-1 promotes atherosclerosis by inhibiting the emigration of macrophages from plaques. Nature Immunology. 2012.

See full publication list here