Cora Nijboer

Cora Nijboer foto

Dr. Cora Nijboer

  • stroke
  • developmental disorders
  • translational research
+31 88 755 4360
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Cora Nijboer studied Medical Biology at Utrecht University and graduated with honors in 2003. She obtained her PhD degree in Utrecht in 2008 with Prof. Cobi Heijnen and Prof. Frank van Bel (thesis: “Protecting the newborn brain: molecular mechanisms & therapeutic targets”) on a collaborative project between the Laboratory of Neuroimmunology and Developmental Origins of Disease (NIDOD) and the Department of Neonatology. 

 She is currently appointed as Assistant Professor and group leader of the research line “Neuroprotection and Neuroregeneration” within the NIDOD Laboratory.

Her research focuses on developing novel neuroprotective and neuroregenerative treatment strategies to combat brain damage in neonates. A specific interest lies in studying apoptotic cell death in the hypoxic-ischemic newborn brain with a particular focus on mitochondrial integrity. Her areas of interest furthermore include regenerative treatment using mesenchymal stem cells in the damaged neonatal brain, and white matter injury in preterm neonates. Her research is conducted in close collaboration with the Department of Neonatology.

 She was awarded a WKZ Research Fund (2013), a fellowship grant of ‘Hersenstichting Nederland’ (2014) and is project-leader on a ZonMw-TAS project.

Research line and group

Research line
Neuroprotection and Neuroregeneration
Number of PhD students
Number of postdocs

Personal fellowships and awards

  • ZonMw (NWO) - TAS (Translationeel Adult Stamcelonderzoek) (2011): “Adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) to regenerate the neonatal brain”; project-leader (preclinical)
  • WKZ Research Fund (2013): “A novel strategy to protect the preterm brain against perinatal white matter injury.”; PI
  • Hersenstichting Nederland –Fellowship Stroke (2014): “Mesenchymal stem cell therapy to repair white matter injury in the preterm neonatal brain: boosting oligodendrocyte differentiation and myelination.”; fellow
  • Young scientist award (Prof. Acarin award) (2012), Hershey Conference for Developmental Brain Injury, London, UK.

Most recent key publications

  • Donega V, Nijboer CH, van Velthoven CT, Youssef SA, de Bruin A, van Bel F, Kavelaars A, Heijnen CJ. Assessment of long-term safety and efficacy of intranasal mesenchymal stem cell treatment for neonatal brain injury in the mouse. Pediatr Res. 2015; doi: 10.1038/pr.2015.145
  • Bonestroo HJ, Heijnen CJ, Groenendaal F, van Bel F, Nijboer CH. Development of cerebral gray and white matter injury and cerebral inflammation over time after inflammatory perinatal asphyxia. Dev Neurosci. 2015; 37:78-94
  • Donega V, Nijboer CH, van Tilborg G, Dijkhuizen RM, Kavelaars A, Heijnen CJ. Intranasally administered mesenchymal stem cells promote a regenerative niche for repair of neonatal ischemic brain injury. Exp Neurol. 2014; 261:53-64
  • Nijboer CH, Bonestroo HJC, Zijlstra J, Kavelaars A, Heijnen CJ. Mitochondrial JNK phosphorylation as a novel therapeutic target to inhibit neuroinflammation and apoptosis after neonatal ischemic brain damage. Neurobiol Dis. 2013; 54:432-444
  • Nijboer CH, Heijnen CJ, van der Kooij MA, Zijlstra J, van Velthoven CT, Culmsee C, van Bel F, Hagberg H, Kavelaars A. Targeting the p53 pathway to protect the neonatal ischemic brain. Ann Neurol. 2011; 70(2):255-64