The Netherlands Institute for Innovative Ocular Surgery (NIIOS) is an ophthalmic institute founded by Dr. Gerrit Melles that features a unique combination of a cornea clinic (Melles Cornea Clinic Rotterdam), an eye bank (Amnitrans EyeBank Rotterdam), a Research & Development department, and an educational section (NIIOS Academy). These organizations have together about 50 employees. The special structure of the NIIOS with its different departments brings together ophthalmologists, eye bank technicians, medical biologists, chemists, physicists, engineers and statisticians. This cross‐disciplinary combination fosters an intense exchange of knowledge between scientists from different background combining their different points of view, while focusing on the same target: Improving corneal transplantation for the benefit of patients suffering from corneal disease. The stimulating environment within the institute has led to the development of several new corneal transplantation techniques such as Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK), Descemet stripping endothelial keratoplasty (DSEK), Deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty (DALK) and Bowman layer transplantation. These surgical techniques developed and pioneered by NIIOS over the past 20 years, have induced a major breakthrough in the field of corneal transplantation. These lamellar transplantation techniques have been widely adopted worldwide by now and have had significant influence on the improvement of clinical outcomes after keratoplasty.
Main roles in the project
- WP4: responsible as a leader of WP4 and involved in tasks 4.1.1, 4.1.2, 4.2.1, 4.2.2, 4.2.3, 4.3.1, 4.3.2, 4.4.1, 4.4.2, 4.5.1 and 4.5.2
- WP8: all tasks, support dissemination and communication
Key persons involved
Isabel Dapena (female) – PhD, Principal investigator
Dr Dapena MD is Head of the Medical Department and a cornea specialist. She works as a researcher and corneal surgeon at the Netherlands Institute for Innovative Ocular Surgery (NIIOS) and Melles Cornea Clinic Rotterdam. Dr Dapena obtained her PhD with European mention on “Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK)” in Spain in collaboration with the NIIOS in Rotterdam. She functions also as a clinical advisor for the Amnitrans EyeBank Rotterdam and has published more than 50 articles in peer‐reviewed journals as well as several book chapters in the field of corneal research. Furthermore she has given more than 60 presentations in international congresses and is a reviewer for several peer‐reviewed ophthalmological journals such us: Ophthalmology, Eye, Cornea and British Journal of Ophthalmology.
Silke Oellerich (female) – PhD, Deputy principal investigator
Dr Oellerich is R&D Coordinator at the Netherlands Institute for Innovative Ocular Surgery (NIIOS). She performed her PhD research at the Max‐ Planck‐Institute for Radiation Chemistry (now MPI for Bioinorganic Chemistry), obtained her doctorate in 2001 and received a Marie Curie Grant for her Postdoc period at the University of Leiden. Dr. Oellerich’s main research focus was on single‐molecule spectroscopy and microscopy of pigment-protein complexes and their interaction with membranes. Since 2009 Dr. Oellerich is Head of the NIIIOS R&D Department and is responsible for the coordination and supervision of the institute’s R&D projects.
Alina Miron (female) – MSc, PDEng, Research scientist
Mrs. Miron works as a Research Scientist at the Netherlands Institute for Innovative Ocular Surgery (NIIOS). She obtained her Master degree in Molecular Bioengineering at the TU Dresden and especially focused on the construction of artificial extracellular matrices of collagen and sulfated hyaluronan on a lipid bilayer. Afterwards she successfully participated in the PDEng program of the TU Delft. During this program she especially focused, in collaboration with NIIOS on the in-vitro preservation of human donor corneal tissue and the development of a robust cell culture system for human corneal endothelial cells.
Daniele Spinozzi (male) – MSc, PhD student
Mr. Spinozzi is a PhD student at the Netherlands Institute for Innovative Ocular Surgery (NIIOS) and Leiden University. He obtained his Master degree in Molecular Biology at the University of Parma in collaboration with the University of Lille 1 in 2014. His main research focus was on the characterization of a Tys-kinase receptor in breast cancer cells. After an internship at the Dutch Cancer Institute (NKI) in Amsterdam, in which he focused on the role of androgen receptor in prostate cancer associated fibroblasts, he joined the NIIOS R&D team in January.
Marieke Bruinsma (female) – PhD, Senior Scientist
Dr. Bruinsma is a Senior Scientist at the Netherlands Institute for Innovative Ocular Surgery (NIIOS). She performed her PhD research at the Department of Haematology of the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam. Dr. Bruinsma’s main research focus was on improving tolerance after allogeneic heamatopoietic stem cell transplantation by modulating regulatory T cells. She has been working for NIIOS since 2010 and has been involved in clinical and laboratory research projects with a specialization in cell/tissue culture and allograft rejection.