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Madelon de Jong

Postdoctoral researcher

Clinician-scientist interested in myeloid inflammation and stromal-myeloid interactions

I am a postdoctoral researcher in the labs of Jelena Bezbradica Mirkovic and Christopher Buckley/Mark Coles, focusing on stromal-myeloid interactions in arthritis.

I graduated with a degree in Medicine (MD) and Infection & Immunity (MSc) from the Erasmus University Rotterdam (the Netherlands), and joined the lab of Tom Cupedo and Pieter Sonneveld (Erasmus MC Cancer Institute) as a PhD student in 2018. There, I showed that the bone marrow of patients with the hematological maligancy multiple myeloma (MM) is characterized by chronic inflammatory changes of the stromal- and myeloid backbones. By setting up a workflow to purify bone marrow stromal cells (rare in patient material), I identified MM-specific inflammatory mesenchymal stromal cells (iMSC), which had tumor-supportive and myeloid-modulatory features (de Jong et al. Nature Immunology 2021). I was awarded the Erasmus MC Best Biomedical Publication Award (2022) and Dutch Society of Hematology TOP Publication Award (2022) for this work.

Hypothesizing that iMSC may particularly influence the behaviour of neutrophils, of which the bone marrow is the body's largest depot, I found that, alike iMSC, mature neutrophils in MM bone marrow are pro-inflammatory and tumor-supportive. Importantly, I was able to show that iMSC and neutrophils form a feed-forward loop of activation, maintaining eachother in diseased marrow beyond tumor debulking, stem cell transplantation and consolidation therapy (de Jong et al. Nature Immunology 2024).

In October 2023, I joined the Kennedy Institute to continue studying stromal-myeloid interactions. Here, I will focus on the synergy between synovial lining-layer macrophages and fibroblasts, and investigate the effects of their interplay on the pathobiology of arthritis.