Theun de Groot, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Associate

Researches lithium-induced kidney damage and genetic susceptibility.

Lithium is widely prescribed and the mainstay treatment for bipolar disorders. Unfortunately, lithium treatment leads to nephrogenic diabetes insipidus (NDI), hypercalcaemia and chronic kidney disease (CKD) in approximately 15, 20 and 40 percent of patients respectively. Lithium- induced NDI is caused by the inability of the renal collecting duct to reabsorb water. Hypercalcaemia is likely due to a decreased sensitivity of the parathyroid gland to blood Ca2+ levels. The molecular cause of lithium-induced CKD is largely unknown. Previous studies demonstrated that lithium treatment of different rodent models also leads to the development of these side effects. The aim of my study is to identify novel genes that play an essential role in the pathogenesis of these side effects. For this purpose 29 genetically diverse mouse strains are treated with a control or lithium diet, and subsequently we assess the development of these side effects in each strain. We have already observed that some strains are much more sensitive to developing a side effect as compared to other strains. By associating the sensitivity of the strains to developing these side effects with their genetic variations, we aim to identify novel genes and pathways essential in their development.

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Grants, honors and accomplishments

2014 

First place for best abstract entitled “Acetazolamide: an improved treatment for LithiumInduced Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus?” at the Dutch Nephrology days, Veldhoven, the Netherlands. €500. 

First place award ASN review in Utrecht of project “Acetazolamide: an improved treatment for Lithium-Induced Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus?” €750. 

Winner of the WGIKD Impulsion Grant 2013 of €20.000. Project title: Acetazolamide as a treatment for congenital nephrogenic diabetes insipidus. 

2013 

Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowships grant from the European Comission of €270.000. 

Project acronym: Lithiopathies. Niels Stensen Fellowship of the Niels Stensen Foundation, Amsterdam, The Netherlands of €32.325. 

Project title: Towards gene identification and personalized preventative medication for lithiopathies in lithium-using patients. 

Kolff Postdoc Fellowship Abroad Grant from the Dutch Kidney Foundation of €15.000; Project title: The implementation of Haplotype Association Mapping to identify novel lithiopathy susceptibility genes. 

Travel grant pre-ASN ETG meeting in Atlanta of $300. With student Mike Berendsen: Biomedical sciences J. Bex price (€500 for the student) for the best Bachelor stay, report, and presentation of the year. 

2012 

Second place Hamburger award for best physiological thesis 2011 of the Netherlands from the Dutch Society for Physiology. 

Second place award for best poster presentation at the Dutch Society of Physiology symposium 2012 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. 

Third place award for best renal thesis 2011 of the Netherlands from the Dutch Society of Nephrology at the Dutch Nephrology days, Veldhoven, the Netherlands. €250. 

2010 

Second place award for best oral presentation at the NCMLS PhD retreat, Hof van Wageningen, the Netherlands, Title: “The epithelial Ca2+ channel TRPV5; What’s in the terminus?” 

2008 

Third place award for best poster presentation at the NCMLS PhD retreat, Papendal, Arnhem, the Netherlands. 2006 Second place award for best poster presentation at the NCMLS PhD retreat, Papendal, Arnhem, the Netherlands.