Her research focuses on the role of A Disintegrins And Metalloproteases (ADAMs) and their regulation in vascular inflammation and atherosclerosis. Using conditional knockout mice, rendered atherogenic by injection with a PCSK9-adenoassociated construct, she studied cell-specific effects of ADAM10 and ADAM17 in atherosclerosis. Currently, she aims to unravel the underlying mechanisms by which ADAMs control macrophage and endothelial cell functions and intercellular communication. Moreover, in close collaboration with Birmingham University, she aims to reveal how specificity of these proteases is regulated by tetraspanins.
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Dr. Donners (1978, Sittard) studied Medical Biology at Utrecht University, where she graduated in 2001.
In 2005, she obtained her PhD, under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Mat Daemen and Dr. S. Heeneman, at the Department of Pathology, Maastricht University. Title of her thesis was: Evaluation of novel therapeutic targets and diagnostic tools for atherosclerotic plaque progression: Immunosuppression and Proteomics
During her first post-doctoral period (2004-2006) at Maastricht University (Pathology Department) she visited the lab of Dr. R. Stan at Dartmouth University (USA) to gain expertise in lipid raft isolation. In 2006 she started at the Cardiology Department (EU program) and identified ADAM10 as novel binding partner of VEGFR2. In 2007 she received a prestigious personal grant from the Netherlands Heart Foundation (Dr. Dekker grant) to establish her own unique research line unravelling the role of ADAM10 in endothelial functions and atherosclerosis. In 2009, she continued this project within the Molecular Genetics Department (UM), where she supervised 3 PhD students, one of which supported by a grant from CARIM to study the effects of HDL on macrophage inflammatory responses.
In 2012, she received another personal grant from the Netherlands Heart Foundation (Dr. Dekker grant) further develop her own research group. From 2017, she is appointed as Associate Professor within the Experimental Vascular Pathology Group of the Department of Pathology.