Acne Lab

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Maurice van Steensel


Maurice van Steensel is professor of genetic dermatology in the School of Medicine, University of Dundee, United Kingdom. He studied medicine at the University of Nijmegen (NL) obtaining his MD in 1996. During his study, he was active in clinical genetics research and trained in molecular genetics. After graduating, he completed a cum laude PhD in genetics and dermatology, while training to become a dermatologist. In 2006, Dr. van Steensel completed his dermatology training and in 2008 became associate professor and vice-chair of the department of Dermatology in Maastricht. He was appointed full professor in 2010 and joined IMB as a Senior Principal Investigator in February, 2014. In January 2015, Maurice became professor of Dermatology in the School of Medicine, University of Dundee where he is also an Associate Principal Investigator in the Drug Discovery Unit, School of Life Sciences. In November 2015, he was appointed Honorary Visiting Professor in Lee Kong Chian Medical School, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Prof. van Steensel is an internationally renowned expert in genetic skin disorders and his work to date covers the full range of genetic dermatology, from the clinical identification of novel disorders to ciliary biology. His present research interests focus on using rare genetic diseases to understand common skin disorders and design cellular and organismal drug screening assays

Our group is interested in the pathogenesis of acne, a very common skin disease. We have recently elucidated the genetic underpinnings of some ultra-rare inherited disorders that are associated with severe acne. The causative gene defects are all involved in the same biological pathway. We hypothesize that common acne is caused by acquired or genetic dysfunction of this particular pathway. Using a variety of in vitro and in vivo tools, we aim to test our hypothesis and use our insights for the development of novel treatments.

Maurice also runs the Sebaceous Gland Lab jointly with Xin Hong Lim. The Sebaceous Gland Lab seeks to decipher normal and pathological sebaceous gland differentiation, with the ultimate goal of understanding acne. Specifically, we aim to establish how sebaceous gland morphogenesis and function are controlled using an integrated approach leveraging mouse models, organotypic cell culture and studies of human material. The work makes extensive use of advanced imaging and -omics techniques, and involves close collaboration with industry. The ultimate goal is to develop platforms for the development of novel drugs for the treatment and prevention of acne and allied conditions.

Acne Lab Group Members

Research Fellows Evelyn Yaqiong Tao
PhD student (ARAP program) Ivo de Vos
Research Officer Arnette Wong

Sebaceous Gland Lab Group Members

Research Fellows Tham Khek Chian
  Tan Kai Xuan Keith
  Ang Siang Yun

Shang Wei

Chau Man Wah Rosanna
Research Officers Low Jun Xi Selwyn

Lee Pei Wen

Tan Yong Quan Alvin
  Faith Ng Cui En
  Melvin Chua Shen Wei

van Steensel MA. Do shoot the messenger: Taking aim at RNA to treat genetic skin disorders. Exp Dermatol. 2017 Jan;26(1):22-23. doi: 10.1111/exd.13218 Link
de Vos IJ, Vreeburg M, Koek GH, van Steensel MA. Review of familial cerebral cavernous malformations and report of seven additional families. Am J Med Genet A. 2017 Feb;173(2):338-351. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.a.38028 Link
van Steensel MA. On the TRAIL to truth, or on a road to nowhere? Exp Dermatol. 2017 Mar;26(3):225-226. doi: 10.1111/exd.13231 Link
Kenyon EJ, Luijten MN, Gill H, Li N, Rawlings M, Bull JC, Hadzhiev Y, van Steensel MA, Maher E, Mueller F. Expression and knockdown of zebrafish folliculin suggests requirement for embryonic brain morphogenesis. BMC Dev Biol. 2016 Jul 8;16(1):23. doi: 10.1186/s12861-016-0119-8. PubMed PMID: 27391801 Link
Parren LJ, Munte K, Winnepenninckx V, van Geel M, Steijlen PM, Frank J, van Steensel MA. Clustered unilateral trichoepitheliomas indicate Type 1 segmental manifestation of multiple familial trichoepithelioma. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2016 Aug;41(6):682-4. doi: 10.1111/ced.12856. Epub 2016 Jun 24. PubMed PMID: 27339671 Link
Volker-Touw CM, de Koning HD, Giltay J, de Kovel C, van Kempen TS, Oberndorff K, Boes M, van Steensel MA, van Well GT, Blokx WA, Schalkwijk J, Simon A, Frenkel J, van Gijn ME. Erythematous nodes, urticarial rash and arthralgias in a large pedigree with NLRC4-related autoinflammatory disease, expansion of the phenotype. Br J Dermatol. 2016 May 20. doi: 10.1111/bjd.14757. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 27203668. Link
Brinkhuizen T, Frencken KJ, Nelemans PJ, Hoff ML, Kelleners-Smeets NW, Zur Hausen A, van der Horst MP, Rennspiess D, Winnepenninckx VJ, van Steensel MA, Mosterd K. The effect of topical diclofenac 3% and calcitriol 3 μg/g on superficial basal cell carcinoma (sBCC) and nodular basal cell carcinoma (nBCC): A phase II, randomized controlled trial. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2016 Jul;75(1):126-34. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2016.01.050. Epub 2016 Apr 7. PubMed PMID: 27067393 Link
van Steensel MA. Making the invisible visible. Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2016 Apr;52:58-65. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2016.02.013. Epub 2016 Feb 10. Review. PubMed PMID: 26877141 Link
van Steensel MA. The Growing Spectrum of Cutaneous RASopathy. J Invest Dermatol. 2016 Feb;136(2):359-60. doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2015.10.059. PubMed PMID: 26802231 Link
Brinkhuizen T, van Geel M, Denil SL, De Meyer T, Kelleners-Smeets NW, Lohuis PJ, Hoebers FJ, Winnepenninckx VJ, van Steensel MA, Mosterd K. Locally advanced basal cell carcinoma has a distinct methylation and transcriptomic profile. Exp Dermatol. 2016 Apr;25(4):316-8. doi: 10.1111/exd.12905. Epub 2016 Feb 11. PubMed PMID: 26662714 Link
Possik E, Ajisebutu A, Manteghi S, Gingras MC, Vijayaraghavan T, Flamand M, Coull B, Schmeisser K, Duchaine T, van Steensel M, Hall DH, Pause A. FLCN and AMPK Confer Resistance to Hyperosmotic Stress via Remodeling of Glycogen Stores. PLoS Genet. 2015 Oct 6;11(10):e1005520. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1005520. eCollection 2015 Oct. PubMed PMID: 26439621 Link
Nellen RG, Steijlen PM, van Geel M, van Steensel MA. Comment on Zhao et al. "Palmoplantar keratoderma of the Gamborg-Nielsen type is caused by mutations in the SLURP1 gene and represents a variant of Mal de Meleda". Acta Derm Venereol. 2015 Nov;95(8):1034-5. doi: 10.2340/00015555-2196. PubMed PMID: 26139149 Link
Nellen RG, Nagtzaam IF, Hoogeboom AJ, Bladergroen RS, Jonkman MF, Steijlen PM, van Steensel MA, van Geel M. Phenotypic variation in epidermolytic ichthyosis: clinical and functional evaluation of the novel p.(Met339Lys) mutation in the L12 domain of KRT1. Exp Dermatol. 2015 Nov;24(11):883-5. doi: 10.1111/exd.12786. Epub 2015 Aug 21. PubMed PMID: 26120802 Link
van der Velden JJ, van Geel M, Nellen RG, Jonkman MF, McGrath JA, Nanda A, Sprecher E, van Steensel MA, McLean WH, Cassidy AJ. Novel TGM5 mutations in acral peeling skin syndrome. Exp Dermatol. 2015 Apr;24(4):285-9. doi: 10.1111/exd.12650. PubMed PMID: 25644735 Link
Martin PE, van Steensel M. Connexins and skin disease: insights into the role of beta connexins in skin homeostasis. Cell Tissue Res. 2015 Jun;360(3):645-58. doi: 10.1007/s00441-014-2094-3. Epub 2015 Jan 24. Review. PubMed PMID: 25616557 Link
van Steensel M, Vreeburg M, Urbina MT, López P, Morice-Picard F, van Geel M. Novel KRT83 and KRT86 mutations associated with monilethrix. Exp Dermatol. 2015 Mar;24(3):222-4. doi: 10.1111/exd.12624. PubMed PMID: 25557232 Link
Janmohamed SR, Brinkhuizen T, den Hollander JC, Madern GC, de Laat PC, van Steensel MA, Oranje AP. Support for the hypoxia theory in the pathogenesis of infantile haemangioma. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2015 Jun;40(4):431-7. doi: 10.1111/ced.12557. Epub 2014 Dec 16. PubMed PMID: 25511669 Link
Huigen MC, van der Graaf M, Morava E, Dassel AC, van Steensel MA, Seyger MM, Wevers RA, Willemsen MA. Cerebral lipid accumulation in Chanarin-Dorfman Syndrome. Mol Genet Metab. 2015 Jan;114(1):51-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ymgme.2014.10.016. Epub 2014 Nov 4. PubMed PMID: 25468645 Link
Nellen RG, Arits AH, van Geel M, Steijlen PM, van Steensel MA. Darier disease: discrete phenotype in a Sinhalese patient with Darier disease. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2015 Aug;29(8):1641-2. doi: 10.1111/jdv.12514. Epub 2014 Jul 1. PubMed PMID: 24980801 Link
Brinkhuizen T, Reinders MG, van Geel M, Hendriksen AJ, Paulussen AD, Winnepenninckx VJ, Keymeulen KB, Soetekouw PM, van Steensel MA, Mosterd K. Acquired resistance to the Hedgehog pathway inhibitor vismodegib due to smoothened mutations in treatment of locally advanced basal cell carcinoma. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 Nov;71(5):1005-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2014.08.001. Epub 2014 Sep 4. PubMed PMID: 25199678. Link
Brinkhuizen T, Weijzen CA, Eben J, Thissen MR, van Marion AM, Lohman BG, Winnepenninckx VJ, Nelemans PJ, van Steensel MA. Immunohistochemical analysis of the mechanistic target of rapamycin and hypoxia signalling pathways in basal cell carcinoma and trichoepithelioma. PLoS One. 2014 Sep 2;9(9):e106427. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0106427. eCollection 2014. PubMed PMID: 25181405; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4152244. Link
Dunlop EA, Seifan S, Claessens T, Behrends C, Kamps MA, Rozycka E, Kemp AJ, Nookala RK, Blenis J, Coull BJ, Murray JT, van Steensel MA, Wilkinson S, Tee AR. FLCN, a novel autophagy component, interacts with GABARAP and is regulated by ULK1 phosphorylation. Autophagy. 2014 Oct 1;10(10):1749-60. doi: 10.4161/auto.29640. Epub 2014 Jul 22. PubMed PMID: 25126726; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4198360. Link
Smith FJD, Hansen CD, Hull PR, Kaspar RL, Schwartz ME, McLean WHI, Milstone LM, van Steensel M, O’Toole E, Sprecher E. Pachyonychia Congenita. 2006 Jan 27 [updated 2014 Jul 24]. In: Pagon RA, Adam MP, Ardinger HH, Wallace SE, Amemiya A, Bean LJH, Bird TD, Fong CT, Mefford HC, Smith RJH, Stephens K, editors. GeneReviews® [Internet]. Seattle (WA): University of Washington, Seattle; 1993-2016. Available from PubMed PMID: 20301457 Link
Gijezen LM, Vernooij M, Martens H, Oduber CE, Henquet CJ, Starink TM, Prins MH, Menko FH, Nelemans PJ, van Steensel MA. Topical rapamycin as a treatment for fibrofolliculomas in Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome: a double-blind placebo-controlled randomized split-face trial. PLoS One. 2014 Jun 9;9(6):e99071. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0099071. eCollection 2014. PubMed PMID: 24910976 Link
Yan M, Gingras MC, Dunlop EA, Nouët Y, Dupuy F, Jalali Z, Possik E, Coull BJ, Kharitidi D, Dydensborg AB, Faubert B, Kamps M, Sabourin S, Preston RS, Davies DM, Roughead T, Chotard L, van Steensel MA, Jones R, Tee AR, Pause A. The tumor suppressor folliculin regulates AMPK-dependent metabolic transformation. J Clin Invest. 2014 Jun;124(6):2640-50. doi: 10.1172/JCI71749. Epub 2014 Apr 24. PubMed PMID: 24762438 Link
Eytan O, Sarig O, Sprecher E, van Steensel MA. Clinical response to ustekinumab in familial pityriasis rubra pilaris caused by a novel mutation in CARD14. Br J Dermatol. 2014 Aug;171(2):420-2. doi: 10.1111/bjd.12952. Epub 2014 Aug 6. PubMed PMID: 24641799 Link
van Steensel MA, Coulombe PA, Kaspar RL, Milstone LM, McLean IW, Roop DR, Smith FJ, Sprecher E, Schwartz ME. Report of the 10th Annual International Pachyonychia Congenita Consortium Meeting. J Invest Dermatol. 2014 Mar;134(3):588-91. doi: 10.1038/jid.2013.392. PubMed PMID: 24518109 Link
Eytan O, Qiaoli L, Nousbeck J, van Steensel MA, Burger B, Hohl D, Taïeb A, Prey S, Bachmann D, Avitan-Hersh E, Jin Chung H, Shemer A, Trau H, Bergman R, Fuchs-Telem D, Warshauer E, Israeli S, Itin PH, Sarig O, Uitto J, Sprecher E. Increased epidermal expression and absence of mutations in CARD14 in a series of patients with sporadic pityriasis rubra pilaris. Br J Dermatol. 2014 May;170(5):1196-8. doi: 10.1111/bjd.12799. PubMed PMID: 24359224. Link
Wilson GR, Sunley J, Smith KR, Pope K, Bromhead CJ, Fitzpatrick E, Di Rocco M, van Steensel M, Coman DJ, Leventer RJ, Delatycki MB, Amor DJ, Bahlo M, Lockhart PJ. Mutations in SH3PXD2B cause Borrone dermato-cardio-skeletal syndrome. Eur J Hum Genet. 2014 Jun;22(6):741-7. doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2013.229. Epub 2013 Oct 9. PubMed PMID: 24105366 Link
Vreeburg M, Sallevelt SC, Stegmann AP, van Geel M, Detisch YJ, Schrander-Stumpel CT, van Steensel MA, Marcus-Soekarman D. Cutaneous clues for diagnosing X-chromosomal disorders. Clin Genet. 2014 Apr;85(4):328-35. doi: 10.1111/cge.12162. Epub 2013 Aug 14. PubMed PMID: 23578112 Link
Luijten MN, Basten SG, Claessens T, Vernooij M, Scott CL, Janssen R, Easton JA, Kamps MA, Vreeburg M, Broers JL, van Geel M, Menko FH, Harbottle RP, Nookala RK, Tee AR, Land SC, Giles RH, Coull BJ, van Steensel MA. Birt-Hogg-Dube syndrome is a novel ciliopathy. Hum Mol Genet. 2013 Nov 1;22(21):4383-97. doi:10.1093/hmg/ddt288. Epub 2013 Jun 19. PubMed PMID: 23784378; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3792695. Link
Fuchs-Telem D, Sarig O, van Steensel MA, Isakov O, Israeli S, Nousbeck J, Richard K, Winnepenninckx V, Vernooij M, Shomron N, Uitto J, Fleckman P, Richard G, Sprecher E. Familial pityriasis rubra pilaris is caused by mutations in CARD14. Am J Hum Genet. 2012 Jul 13;91(1):163-70. doi: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2012.05.010. Epub 2012 Jun 14. PubMed PMID: 22703878; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3397268. Link
Easton JA, Donnelly S, Kamps MA, Steijlen PM, Martin PE, Tadini G, Janssens R, Happle R, van Geel M, van Steensel MA. Porokeratotic eccrine nevus may be caused by somatic connexin26 mutations. J Invest Dermatol. 2012 Sep;132(9):2184-91. doi: 10.1038/jid.2012.143. Epub 2012 May 17. PubMed PMID: 22592158; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3422696. Link
Paller AS, van Steensel MA, Rodriguez-Martín M, Sorrell J, Heath C, Crumrine D, van Geel M, Cabrera AN, Elias PM. Pathogenesis-based therapy reverses cutaneous abnormalities in an inherited disorder of distal cholesterol metabolism. J Invest Dermatol. 2011 Nov;131(11):2242-8. doi: 10.1038/jid.2011.189. Epub 2011 Jul 14. PubMed PMID: 21753784; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3193573. Link