dr. Sofie Martens (PhD)

CRIG member
Sofie Martens

Postdoctoral researcher – Molecular Signaling and Cell Death Unit (VIB Inflammation Research Center, UGent Department of Biomedical Molecular Biology)
Principal Investigator: prof. Peter Vandenabeele (PhD)


Research focus

Necroptosis is a form of regulated necrotic cell death mediated by two members of the receptor interacting protein kinase (RIPK) family: RIPK1 and RIPK3, which initiate a signaling cascade. Mixed lineage kinase-domain like protein (MLKL) was identified as a downstream substrate of RIPK3 and executioner of necroptosis. Cancers acquire several capabilities in order to survive during the multistep process in tumor development. Resisting cell death is one of them. Deregulation of RIPK1/RIPK3 has been reported in several cancer types. Little is known about the role of MLKL in tumorigenesis and tumor development. A few contradictory results on the possible association between MLKL expression and cancer prognosis have been reported. Besides executing necroptosis, MLKL may have other functions in cancer independent of cell death.
Our research investigates MLKL regulation during melanoma initiation and progression, in a broad panel of melanoma cell lines, including differentiated and invasive melanomas. In parallel, tumorigenesis and tumor development in MLKL knockout mice is studied in a tamoxifen-inducible melanoma mouse model driven by melanocyte-specific simultaneous overexpression of mutated B-RAF and deletion of PTEN.

Contact & links

  • Lab address: VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research, Technologiepark 71, 9052 Zwijnaarde (Ghent), Belgium
  • Vandenabeele lab  
  • Sofie Martens is interested to receive invitations for presentations or talks