Niek Bloks started his PhD in February 2019 at the department of Molecular Epidemiology at the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) under the supervision of Ingrid Meulenbelt.
He obtained his bachelor degree in Physiotherapy at the University of Applied Science Fontys Eindhoven, and his master degree in Human Movement Sciences (cum laude) at the Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam. His master thesis was completed as an internship at the laboratory for myology at the VU, and was aimed at understanding how aging affects muscle stem cell mechanosensitivity, fate and functioning. Using in vitro mechanical loading paradigms such as fluid induced shear stress and nanoindentation, he aimed to determine how (aged) muscle stem cells sense mechanical stimuli, and how these are transduced into biochemical responses.
During his PhD, he will focus on how a high-impact COL6A3 mutation, which was identified in the GARP study, affects the chondrocytes epigenetically controlled transcriptome in response to mechanical loading.