dr. K. Broersen (Kerensa)

Associate Professor

About Me

I am working in the Applied Stem Cell Technologies group as an associate professor where I head a subgroup of researchers interested in the biochemical and cell biological aspects of the brain. I was trained as a biochemist and obtained my PhD in food chemistry from Wageningen University in The Netherlands. After this I moved to the Medical Research Council - Laboratory of Molecular Biology to work for two years as a postdoc with Bazbek Davletov and Michel Goedert on the aggregation of alpha-synuclein, a protein involved in Parkinson's disease, as a function of a number of membrane-enriched fatty acids. I then worked for three and a half years, first as a postdoc, later as an assistant professor, in the Switch Laboratory, headed by Frederic Rousseau and Joost Schymkowitz, at the Free University of Brussels (VUB) and Flanders Institute for Biotechnology (VIB). Since 2011 I worked in the Nanobiophysics Group at the Science and Technology faculty at the University of Twente. This group was first headed by Vinod Subramaniam and since 2013 by Mireille Claessens. Since 2019 I am a member of the Applied Stem Cell Technologies group headed by Robert Passier.  

Ancillary Activities

  • NIZO
    Project leader at NIZO food research


Together with my team I am interested in studying the fundamental biochemistry of cell to cell signaling to, from and inside of the brain in relation to neurodegenerative diseases. We aim at seeking answers to our questions using a combined biochemistry, biophysics, and cell biology approach including the use of microfluidic chip systems for cell culture. Typical questions we address in our team include:

- what is the mechanistic background of clinically identified risk factors for Alzheimer's disease?

- how do neighboring cells communicate their disease status to ultimately, in late disease stages, span the entire brain?

- how do cells of the immune system and neurons interact to give rise to neuroinflammation?

- how can we explain the molecular basis of the connection between neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration?

- how does the microbiome communicate with the brain?

We are embedded in the faculty of Science and Technology in the Applied Stem Cell Technologies group.

Our research is financed by ZonMw (Memorabel - Deltaplan Dementie), Alzheimer Nederland, Fulbright, NWO Zwaartekracht (organ-on-chip initiative - in collaboration with Christine Mummery and Albert van de Berg), SFI Career Development Award Programme (in collaboration with Damien Thompson).


Borges, A. C. , Broersen, K., Leandro, P., & Fernandes, T. G. (2022). Engineering Organoids for in vitro Modeling of Phenylketonuria. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, 14, [787242]. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnmol.2021.787242
Marasco, D., Vicidomini, C., Krupa, P. , Cioffi, F., Huy, P. D. Q., Li, M. S., Florio, D. , Broersen, K., De Pandis, M. F., & Roviello, G. N. (2021). Plant isoquinoline alkaloids as potential neurodrugs: A comparative study of the effects of benzo[c]phenanthridine and berberine-based compounds on β-amyloid aggregation. Chemico-Biological Interactions, 334, [109300]. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cbi.2020.109300
Claes, F., Rudyak, S., Laird, A. S., Louros, N., Beerten, J., Debulpaep, M., Michiels, E., van der Kant, R., Van Durme, J., De Baets, G., Houben, B., Ramakers, M., Yuan, K., Gwee, S. S. L., Hernandez, S. , Broersen, K., Oliveberg, M., Moahamed, B., Kirstein, J., ... Schymkowitz, J. (2019). Exposure of a cryptic Hsp70 binding site determines the cytotoxicity of the ALS-associated SOD1-mutant A4V. Protein engineering, design & selection : PEDS, 32(10), 443-457. https://doi.org/10.1093/protein/gzaa008
Zakharova, M. , van der Helm, M., do Carmo, M. P. , Le-The, H. , Tibbe, M. , van der Meer, A. , Broersen, K. , Eijkel, J. , & Segerink, L. (2019). Multiplexed organ-on-chip device for increased throughput analysis of the tissue barrier function. In 23rd International Conference on Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences, MicroTAS 2019 (pp. 432-433). The Chemical and Biological Microsystems Society.
Zakharova, M. , van der Helm, M., Palma Do Carmo, M. , Le The, H. , Tibbe, M. , van der Meer, A. , Broersen, K. , Eijkel, J. , & Segerink, L. (2019). Multiplexed organ-on-chip device for increased throughput analysis of the tissue barrier function. Poster session presented at 23rd International Conference on Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences, µTAS 2019, Basel, Switzerland.
Vicidomini, C. , Cioffi, F. , Broersen, K., Roviello, V., Riccardi, C., Montesarchio, D., Capasso, D., Gaetano, S. D., Musumeci, D., & Roviello, G. N. (2019). Benzodifurans for biomedical applications: BZ4, a selective anti-proliferative and anti-amyloid lead compound. Future Medicinal Chemistry, 11(4), 285-302. https://doi.org/10.4155/fmc-2018-0473
Gera, J., Szögi, T., Bozsó, Z., Fülöp, L., Barrera, E. E., Rodriguez, A. M., Méndez, L., Delpiccolo, C. M. L., Mata, E. G. , Cioffi, F. , Broersen, K., Paragi, G., & Enriz, R. D. (2018). Searching for improved mimetic peptides inhibitors preventing conformational transition of amyloid-β42 monomer. Bioorganic Chemistry, 81, 211-221. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bioorg.2018.08.018
Teodorowicz, M., Perdijk, O., Verhoek, I., Govers, C., Savelkoul, H. F. J., Tang, Y., Wichers, H. , & Broersen, K. (2017). Optimized triton X-114 assisted lipopolysaccharide (LPS) removal method reveals the immunomodulatory effect of food proteins. PLoS ONE, 12(3), [0173778]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0173778
Ruzafa, D., Hernandez-Gomez, Y. S., Bisello, G. , Broersen, K., Morel, B., & Conejero-Lara, F. (2017). The influence of N-terminal acetylation on micelle-induced conformational changes and aggregation of α-Synuclein. PLoS ONE, 12(5), [e0178576]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0178576

UT Research Information System


- Biochemistry for first year BSc Biomedical Technology

- Biochemistry for third year BSc Chemical Technology

- Biochemistry and Chemistry of the Biological Cell for ATLAS students

- Module coordinator of Molecular Construction of the Human Body

Affiliated Study Programmes


Courses Academic Year  2022/2023

Courses in the current academic year are added at the moment they are finalised in the Osiris system. Therefore it is possible that the list is not yet complete for the whole academic year.

Courses Academic Year  2021/2022

In the press

RTV Oost:

1. Interview, 20 September 2016 (with a video of our work in Dutch): www.rtvoost.nl/pl.aspx?nid=252520


2. Newsitem on our ZonMw grant, 07 October 2014: http://www.rtvoost.nl/tag/alzheimer?nid=200263


UT Nieuws:

3. 7 October 2014: http://www.utnieuws.nl/nieuws/60561/Negen_ton_naar_onderzoek_Alzheimer

4. 5 February 2016: http://www.utnieuws.nl/nieuws/62538/Kerensa_Broersen_loopt_halve_marathon_voor_goed_doel

5. 20 September 2016: http://www.utnieuws.nl/nieuws/63239/Niemand_wil_zijn_of_haar_herinneringen_kwijtraken


Enschede FM:

6. Radio interview (7 October 2014): http://www.tvenschedefm.nl/alzheimer-onderzoek-ut-krijgt-bijna-900-000-euro/nieuws/item?151312



7. Het gezicht van dementie onderzoek (September 2017): https://publicaties.zonmw.nl/het-gezicht-van-dementieonderzoek/interview-kerensa-broersen/ 


BNR Nieuwsradio:

8. Interview with Roelof Hemmen (24 July 2017): https://www.bnr.nl/nieuws/wetenschap/10326834/twentse-alzheimer-onderzoekster-naar-amerika

News on utwente.nl

Election for Viva400: https://www.utwente.nl/nieuws/!/2017/9/189484/vijf-wetenschappers-van-ut-in-viva400

Fulbright fellowship: https://www.utwente.nl/en/news/!/2017/7/160713/fulbright-scholarship-for-kerensa-broersen

Contact Details

Visiting Address

University of Twente
Faculty of Science and Technology
Horst Complex (building no. 20), room ZH111
De Horst 2
7522LW  Enschede
The Netherlands

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Mailing Address

University of Twente
Faculty of Science and Technology
Horst Complex  ZH111
P.O. Box 217
7500 AE Enschede
The Netherlands

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