Prof. dr. A.P. Zhernakova
Alexandra (Sasha) Zhernakova is an associate professor and a Rosalind Franklin Fellow in the Department of Genetics, University Medical Centre Groningen. Her interest lies in understanding the complex interplay of environmental and genetic components in the predisposition to common diseases and traits, including aging, autoimmune diseases, and gastrointestinal diseases. She has shown there is considerable genetic overlap between different diseases in these categories.
Her research group is also studying the gut microbiome: investigating its role in the predisposition to diseases, characterizing its composition, and identifying factors that shape it, including host genetics, diet, medication, and environmental factors. For this work she is able to use detailed information on phenotypes, lifestyle, medical, and genetic data from the LifeLines cohort (167,000 participants in the northern Netherlands). She aims to determine the microbiome’s role in gut health and common diseases and is now expanding her studies to characterise the development of the gut microbiome in a large population cohort of babies.
Drs. H.S. Hofker
Sijbrand Hofker is working as a consultant surgeon at the UMCG, in the department of abdominal surgery, transplantation, and organ donation, since 1999. His focus on both clinical work as well as research includes bowel failure, ventral hernia, IBD surgery, pancreatitis, endometriosis, organ transplantation (kidney, pancreas, bowel), and organ donation. Apart from exploring and introducing many new (minimal invasive) surgical techniques for abdominal surgery and donor surgery, the combination of his expertise also resulted in involvement of the introduction of both bowel transplantation and abdominal wall transplantation in the Netherlands. Sijbrand Hofker will share his experience of introducing new techniques in clinical practice and give examples on how these introductions were often done the right way and sometimes in ways that he prefers not do again.