dr. C.H.A. (Cora) Nijboer Head of Department

dr. C.H.A. (Cora) Nijboer Head of Department

Associate Professor
dr. C.H.A. (Cora) Nijboer Head of Department
  • DDOD laboratory



Cora Nijboer was born on November 5th 1980. She studied Medical Biology at Utrecht University which she graduated with honors in 2003. She started as a PhD student in 2003 at a collaborative project between the Laboratory of Neuroimmunology and Developmental Origins of Disease (NIDOD) and the Department of Neonatology at the UMCU under supervision of Professor Heijnen and Professor van Bel. She studied novel treatment strategies to combat neonatal brain damage after hypoxia-ischemia. In 2008 this work resulted in her PhD thesis: “Protecting the newborn brain: molecular mechanisms & therapeutic targets”.  

After finishing her PhD she continued her research as a post-doctoral researcher at the NIDOD Laboratory of the UMCU. She has extensively studied how peripheral treatment with small (peptide) inhibitors of crucial cell signaling pathways, including NF-κB, JNK and p53, can reduce cerebral cell death after hypoxia-ischemia in newborn rodents. Her area of interest also includes regenerative mesenchymal stem cell treatment and white matter injury in preterm neonates.

She was awarded a WKZ Research Fund (2013), a fellowship grant of ‘Hersenstichting Nederland’ (2014),  a Hersenstichting The Next Step grant (2017), a Marie Sklodowska-Curie CoFund grant (2018) and she leads a project at ZonMw-TAS (2011-2020). Furthermore she has collaborations with Industrial partners like Chiesi Pharmaceuticals and Nutricia Research.

She is currently Associate Professor and group leader of the research line “Neuroprotection and Neuroregeneration” within the NIDOD Lab and supervises a team of PhD students, post-docs, technicians and students. She works in very close collaboration with clinicians of the Department of Neonatology.

Research line

Neuroprotection and Neuroregeneration of the newborn brain

Most recent key publications

1:van Tilborg E, Achterberg EJM, van Kammen CM, van der Toorn A, Groenendaal F, Dijkhuizen RM, Heijnen CJ, Vanderschuren LJMJ, Benders MNJL, Nijboer CH. Combined fetal inflammation and postnatal hypoxia causes myelin deficits and autism-like behavior in a rat model of diffuse white matter injury. GLIA. (2018) 66: 78-93.

2: Van Tilborg E, de Theije CGM, van Hal M, Wagenaar N, de Vries LS, Benders M, Rowitch DH, Nijboer CH. Origin and dynamics of oligodendrocytes in the developing brain: implications for perinatal white matter injury. GLIA (2018) 66: 221-238.

3: Wagenaar N, de Theije CGM, de Vries LS, Groenendaal F, Benders MJNL, Nijboer CH. Promoting neuroregeneration after perinatal arterial ischemic stroke: Neurotrophic factors and mesenchymal stem cells. Pediatric Research (2018) 83: 372-384.

4:Braccioli L, Heijnen CJ, Coffer PJ, Nijboer CH. Delayed administration of neural stem cells after hypoxia-ischemia reduces sensorimotor deficits, cerebral lesion size and neuroinflammation in neonatal mice. Pediatric Research (2017) 81:127-135.

5: Van Tilborg E, Heijnen CJ, Benders MJ, van Bel F, Fleiss B, Gressens P, Nijboer CH. Impaired oligodendrocyte maturation in preterm infants: potential therapeutic targets. Progress in Neurobiology (2016) 136:28-49.

6: Donega V, Nijboer CH, van Velthoven CT, Youssef SA, de Bruin A, van Bel F, Kavelaars A, Heijnen CJ. Assessment of long-term safety and efficacy of intranasal mesenchymal stem cell treatment for neonatal brain injury in the mouse. Pediatr Res. 2015; doi: 10.1038/pr.2015.145

Side Activities


Fellowship and Awards

1: ZonMw (NWO) - TAS (Translationeel Adult Stamcelonderzoek) (2011): “Adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) to regenerate the neonatal brain”; project-leader (preclinical) and project secretary

2: WKZ Research Fund (2013): “A novel strategy to protect the preterm brain against perinatal white matter injury.”; PI

3: Hersenstichting Nederland –Fellowship Stroke (2014): “Mesenchymal stem cell therapy to repair white matter injury in the preterm neonatal brain: boosting oligodendrocyte differentiation and myelination.”; fellow

4: Hersenstichting Nederland - The Next Step (2017): "Intranasal growth factor treatment: a novel strategy to repair the injured preterm brain."; PI

5: EU, Marie Sklodowska-Curie CoFund - RESCUE program Utrecht RMSC (2018): "Development of novel protective and regenerative treatment strategies for brain injury in the preterm and fullterm neonate."; PI

6: Young scientist award (Prof. Acarin award) (2012), Hershey Conference for Developmental Brain Injury, London, UK.

Research Output (80)

Nutritional supplementation for the prevention and treatment of neonatal brain injury:Breast milk and beyond

Brandt Myrna J.V., Nijboer Cora H., van Elburg Ruurd M., Benders Manon J.N.L., de Theije Caroline G.M. 1 Jan 2023, p. 833-853 21 p.

Early predictors of neurodevelopment after perinatal arterial ischemic stroke:a systematic review and meta-analysis

Baak Lisanne M, van der Aa Niek E, Verhagen Annemijn A E, Dudink Jeroen, Groenendaal Floris, Nijboer Cora H A, Benders Manon J N L, Wagenaar Nienke 27 Dec 2022, In: Pediatric Research. 94 , p. 20-33 14 p.

Feasibility and safety of intranasally administered mesenchymal stromal cells after perinatal arterial ischaemic stroke in the Netherlands (PASSIoN):a first-in-human, open-label intervention study

Baak Lisanne M., Wagenaar Nienke, van der Aa Niek E., Groenendaal Floris, Dudink Jeroen, Tataranno Maria Luisa, Mahamuud Ubah, Verhage Cornelia H., Eijsermans Rian M.J.C., Smit Liesbeth S., Jellema Reint K., de Haan Timo R., ter Horst Hendrik J., de Boode Willem P., Steggerda Sylke J., Prins Henk Jan, de Haar Colin G., de Vries Linda S., van Bel Frank, Heijnen Cobi J., Nijboer Cora H., Benders Manon J.N.L. Jun 2022, In: The Lancet. Neurology. 21 , p. 528-536 9 p.

Cognitive performance during adulthood in a rat model of neonatal diffuse white matter injury

Achterberg E J Marijke, van Oldeniel Ralf J, van Tilborg Erik, Verharen Jeroen P H, Nijboer Cora H, Vanderschuren Louk J M J 22 Jan 2022, In: Psychopharmacology. 239 , p. 745-764 20 p.

Nutritional Supplementation Reduces Lesion Size and Neuroinflammation in a Sex-Dependent Manner in a Mouse Model of Perinatal Hypoxic-Ischemic Brain Injury

Brandt Myrna J.V., Nijboer Cora H., Nessel Isabell, Mutshiya Tatenda R., Michael‐titus Adina T., Counotte Danielle S., Schipper Lidewij, van der Aa Niek E., Benders Manon J.N.L., de Theije Caroline G.M. 30 Dec 2021, In: Nutrients. 14 , p. 1-24

Preliminary results of the PASSIoN trial (Perinatal Arterial Stroke treated with Stromal cells IntraNasally)

Baak Lisanne M., Wagenaar Nienke, van der Aa Niek E., Groenendaal Floris, Dudink Jeroen, Tataranno Maria-Luisa, Smit Liesbeth S., Jellema Reint K., de Haan Timo R., ter Horst Henk J., de Boode Willem P., Steggerda Sylke J., de Haar Colin G., de Vries Linda S., van Bel Frank, Nijboer Cora H. A., Benders Manon J. N. L. Oct 2021, In: Pediatric Research. 90 , p. 8-8

Chronic social stress lessens the metabolic effects induced by a high-fat diet

Jene Tanja, Ruiz de Azua Inigo, Hasch Annika, Klüpfel Jennifer, Deuster Julia, Maas Mirjam, Nijboer Cora H, Lutz Beat, Müller Marianne B, van der Kooij Michael A 1 Apr 2021, In: Journal of Endocrinology. 249 , p. 19-30 12 p.

Regenerative Therapies to Restore Interneuron Disturbances in Experimental Models of Encephalopathy of Prematurity

Vaes Josine E G, Kosmeijer Chantal M, Kaal Marthe, van Vliet Rik, Brandt Myrna J V, Benders Manon J N L, Nijboer Cora H 1 Jan 2021, In: International journal of molecular sciences. 22 , p. 1-22 22 p.

Cerebellar injury in term neonates with hypoxic–ischemic encephalopathy is underestimated

Annink Kim V., Meerts Lilly, van der Aa Niek E., Alderliesten Thomas, Nikkels Peter G.J., Nijboer Cora H.A., Groenendaal Floris, de Vries Linda S., Benders Manon J.N.L., Hoebeek Freek E., Dudink Jeroen 23 Sep 2020, In: Pediatric Research. 89 , p. 1171-1178 8 p.

Nasal administration of mesenchymal stem cells reverses chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy in mice

Boukelmoune Nabila, Laumet Geoffroy, Tang Yongfu, Ma Jiacheng, Mahant Itee, Nijboer Cora, Benders Manon, Kavelaars Annemieke, Heijnen Cobi J 2020, In: Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. 93 , p. 43-54 12 p.

All research output

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