dr. Irina Okkelman (PhD)

CRIG member
Irina Okkelman

postdoctoral researcher – Tissue engineering and Biomaterials Lab, Department of Human structure and repair (Faculty of Medicine and Heath Sciences, UGent)
principal investigator: prof. Ruslan Dmitriev (PhD)


Research focus

Cancer stem cells reside in a niche, which protects them from aggressive environment and control their behavior. To understand the function of cancer stem cell niche we have to perform non-destructive analysis of tumor tissue function. To make it possible our group focuses on the development of biosensors and live imaging methods based on state-of-the-art fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) and multiplexed imaging. Using this methodology in combination with 3D tumor and tissue models (tumor spheroids, intestinal organoids and etc.) we can analyze cells proliferation and metabolism (oxygenation, extracellular pH, redox state, mitochondrial polarization) in close to physiological conditions. The application of this methodology will be an advantage for cancer studies, drug screening and personalized medicine.  

Key publications

  • ‘Estimation of the mitochondrial membrane potential using fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy.’ Cytometry Part A, 2020. (PMID: 31486581)
  • ‘A deeper understanding of intestinal organoid metabolism revealed by combining fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) and extracellular flux analyses’. Redox biology, 2020. (PMID: 31935648)
  • ‘Cellulose-based scaffolds for fluorescence lifetime imaging-assisted tissue engineering’. Acta Biomaterialia, 2018. (PMID: 30261339)
  • ‘Live cell imaging of mouse intestinal organoids reveals heterogeneity in their oxygenation’. Biomaterials, 2017. (PMID: 28898760)
  • ‘Quantitative analysis of mucosal oxygenation using ex vivo imaging of healthy and inflamed mammalian colon tissue’. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, 2017. (PMID: 27510419)
  • ‘Use of fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) as a timer of cell cycle S phase’. PloS one, 2016. (PMID: 27973570)
  • ‘A novel effect of DMOG on cell metabolism: direct inhibition of mitochondrial function precedes HIF target gene expression’. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)-Bioenergetics, 2015. (PMID: 26143176)
  • ‘Nuclear translocation of lysyl oxidase is promoted by interaction with transcription repressor p66β’. Cell and Tissue Research, 2014. (PMID: 25118846)

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