Marcel Karperien - Chairholder

Name Prof.dr. H.B.J. (Marcel) Karperien 
Room ZH143
Phone +31 (0)53-489 3323 
Function Chairholder

“It is my ambition to develop innovative therapies for disabling diseases like osteoarthritis and type I diabetes by combining a biomaterial approach with in depth knowledge of molecular and cellular pathophysiology”.


Marcel Karperien, born in Uden, March 7th 1967, studied Biology at Utrecht University. After graduation in 1991 he worked as a PhD-student at the Hubrecht Laboratory, the Netherlands Institute for Developmental Biology and Stem Cell Research under the supervision of professors Siegfried de Laat, Arie Verkleij and dr. Bas Defize. During my PhD training, my work was focused on elucidating the role of Parathyroid Hormone Receptor-signaling in early embryonic development. Part of my work as a PhD-student was performed at the Endocrine Unit of the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. I then continued working as a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Endocrinology of the Leiden University Medical Center, in Leiden the Netherlands in collaboration with prof. Clemens Löwik. In collaboration with prof. Löwik and prof. Jan Maarten Wit of the Department of Pediatrics I successfully set up my own research group, first as assistant and from 2006 onwards as associate professor. In my research a focused on various aspects of bone and cartilage formation in relation to disorders of bone growth by endochondral ossification and osteoporosis from a developmental biological perspective and started focusing on understanding the cellular and molecular basis of hyaline cartilage formation. I realized that this knowledge had great potential for translation into strategies to repair degenerative joint diseases. I also realized that for the translation of this knowledge into clinically applicable solutions for treatment of cartilage diseases, technological input was paramount. This could not be easily realized in the clinical setting of the LUMC. For this reason I took, in 2007, the opportunity to continue my work at the Tissue Regeneration group headed by prof. Clemens van Blitterswijk at the MIRA Institute for Biomedical Technology and Technical Medicine of the University of Twente as associate professor. This career move provided me with access to state of the art technology in biomaterial research and in particular polymer chemistry, tissue engineering and controlled drug delivery and proved to be extremely successful. Starting from scratch in 2007, my research group has exponentially grown and consists presently of 13 PhD-students and 1 technician, all paid by external funding, which I raised in the past years, and two assistant professors. My work is characterized by a multidisciplinary approach in which I combine the latest advancements in polymer chemistry and biomaterial processing, particularly in hydrogel formation, with tissue engineering, controlled drug delivery, animal experimentation, medicine and developmental biology of bone and cartilage. It is aimed at the development of innovative solutions for the treatment of degenerative cartilage disease.

More recently, together with former LUMC colleagues, I initiated a national program to improve transplantation of Islets of Langerhans for treatment of Diabetes type I. I realized that the strategy and in particular the technology and the biomaterial platform, which I developed in the past years, had broad applications in regenerative medicine and I’m currently exploring other applications of this type of technology. At January 1st 2012, I founded the Department of Developmental BioEngineering in which I continue my research activities as an independent chair in the MIRA Institute for Biomedical Technology and Technical Medicine of the University of Twente.

Prizes and awards

Since 1995 I have received awards from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (Young investigator award, travel grant awards), Dutch Society for Endocrinology (NVE), the European Calcified Tissue Society and the MIRA Institute for Biomedical Technology and Technical Medicine with a total value of 71k€. In addition, PhD-students working under my direct supervision have received young investigator awards from the European Calcified Tissue Society (2006, dr. Razvan Miclea), awards for best basic research papers from the Dutch Society for Endocrinology (2001, dr. Bram van der Eerden) and the European Society for Pediatric Endocrinology (2008, dr. Jakomijn Hoogendam), the best clinical research paper from the European Society for Pediatric Endocrinology (2004, dr. Lonneke de Boer), the best abstract award from the TERMIS meeting (2010. dr. Liliana Moreira Teixeira) and the poster award of the 2011 Gordon conference on Cartilage Biology (dr. Jeroen Leijten). In addition, one of my PhD students has received the prestigious 15k€ Henning Anderson award of the European Society for Pediatric Endocrinology for the most outstanding clinical abstract (2008, dr. Remco Visser). In 2010, one of my PhD-students was awarded the prize for the best thesis in Bone and Mineral Research in the Netherlands by the Dutch Society for Bone and Mineral Research (NVCB, dr. Joyce Emons). In 2012 dr. Liliana Moreira Teixeira was nominated for the prestigious DSM Science and Technology award and ended at the 4th place.

Current projects and research funding

Since 1995, I have successfully applied for scholarships and grants with a total value of 26,2m€ to finance my own position as well as to establish my own research group. Most notably, in the past years I have initiated two public-private consortia which have successfully applied for substantial funding at the Biomedical Materials Program and at the Dutch Government.


Dutch Reumafonds grant: A novel strategy for the treatment of osteoarthritis by restoring joint homeostasis using natural antagonists. Principal Investigator together with dr. Janine Post. (240k€)


NGI-preseed grant: Hy2Care B.V.: Injectable hydrogels for cartilage repair Principal Investigator together with prof. dr. P. Dijkstra. (50k€)


FTC-program of the Portuguese Government for financing of a PhD-student. Project title “Natural Polyelectrolyte Multilayers on Microcapsules/Microparticles for Cartilage Tissue Engineering” Co-Principal Investigator together with prof. dr. J. Mano and Prof. dr. R. Reis, University of Minho.


KWF Kankerbestrijding grant UL2010-4873 Reverting chemo- and radio resistance mechanisms in chondrosarcoma: targeting anti-apoptosis machinery components and pro-survival signaling pathways. (co-Applicant together with dr. Judith Bovee and prof. Bob van de Water (both LUMC))(286k€)


High Tech Health Farm, Project title Hy2Care B.V.: Injectable hydrogels for cartilage repair Principal Investigator together with prof. dr. P. Dijkstra. (240k€).


NANONEXT: FES-round 2009. (sub)Project Title: “Nano-Bio interfaces and devices” co-Applicant together with dr. P. Jonkheijm. (380k€)


National Initiative Regenerative Medicine (NIRM), FES-round 2009. (sub)Project Title: “Smart scaffolds for Tissue Engineering”. co-Applicant in a national consortium. (380k€)


Diabetes Cell Replacement Initiative, FES-round 2009 (part of the Top Instituut Gezond Ouder Worden (TiGO). Project title: “An implantable islet cell replacement device for controlled insulin release in diabetes” A national public-private partnership implementing biomaterials and tissue engineering principles in the transplantation of islets of Langerhans. Program Initiator, Principal Investigator and co-consortium leader. (11 m€)


Biomedical Materials grant OAcontrol ( Project title: “Redirecting the management of osteoarthritis through a biomaterial based intervention”. A national public-private partnership. Program initiator, Principal Investigator and consortium leader (8m€)


Smartmix project TeRM: Project title: “Translational excellence in Regenerative Medicine”. co-Applicant in a national consortium (1,25m€)