About Dr. Heijnen
Jacoba (Cobi) Heijnen is one of the founding scientists of the field of psychoneuroimmunology. She received the first department chairmanship in psychoneuroimmunology in Europe and is highly active in the field. She performs human and preclinical animal research focusing on cellular and molecular mechanisms of neuronal damage, rodent cognition and motoric behavior, and therapeutic targets as neuroprotectants. Early in her career, she discovered a crucial T-cell subset, the T regulatory cell, which plays an important role in preventing autoimmune reactions and has a regulatory effect in brain damage and peripheral nerve damage. She melded the fields of brain–immune communications and pathology by studying the influence of the neuroendocrine system on the immune response of patients with autoimmune diseases.
Dr. Heijnen conducts studies of biological mechanisms and biomarkers underlying a variety of illness conditions—for example, pain, stress, fatigue, depression, hypoxic–ischemic brain damage, arthritis, sarcoidosis, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, and post-traumatic stress syndrome—with the ultimate goal of identifying efficacious therapeutic targets. She analyzes clinical inflammatory symptoms, serum cytokine profiles and ex vivo cytokine production, glucocorticoid and adrenergic receptor expression and function, and mRNA expression and genetic polymorphisms in specific genes. She has also explored fundamental intracellular mechanisms of stress, pain and fatigue; these studies identified intracellular kinases that govern the transition from acute to chronic pain.
Dr. Heijnen is considered a founding researcher in the area of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) transplantation as a neuroregenerative treatment for the repair of neonatal hypoxic–ischemic brain damage. She investigated mechanisms of apoptosis after hypoxia–ischemia in order to find therapeutic targets to inhibit apoptosis, focusing especially on the inflammatory pathway regulators nuclear factor κB and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), and the mitochondrial p53/JNK pathway. She established the safety of MSC transplantation, showing that MSCs accumulate only in damaged areas and disappear completely in three days, and was the first to show that intranasal transplantation of MSC is a very effective route for introducing MSCs into the brain.
At MD Anderson, Dr. Heijnen seeks to extend her vast experience with neuroprotectants and neuroregeneration to understanding the mechanisms and treatment of cancer-related stress, pain, fatigue, and chemotherapy-induced cognitive deficits, or chemobrain. Her group has established a model of chemobrain in the mouse and have published evidence of the powerful effects of mitochondrial protection in the prevention of chemotherapy-induced pain. Her earlier work on intracellular kinases, inflammatory pain mechanisms, and T cells is now contributing to her group’s efforts to study chemotherapy-induced and inflammatory pain.
Department Chair, Department of Symptom Research, Division of Internal Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Professor, Department of Symptom Research, Division of Internal Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Professor, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, The University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, TX
|1982||Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, FRA, PHD, Sciences Naturelles|
|1978||Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, FRA, MS, Medical Biology|
Professor, Department of Psychoneuroimmunology and Laboratory for Neuroimmunology and Developmental Origins of Disease (NIDOD), University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, 1997 - 2012
Associate Professor, Department of Laboratory of Psychoneuroimmunology, Wilhelmina Children's Hospital, Utrecht, 1986 - 1997
Committee Chair, Department of Research Board, Division of Woman and Baby, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, 2010 - 2012
Committee Chair, Department of Medical Ethical Committee, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, 1998 - 2006
Department Chair, Department of Department of Neuroimmunology and Developmental Origins of Disease, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, 1997 - 2012
|1999||Norman Cousins Memorial Award for Excellence in Psychoneuroimmunology, Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society|
- Krukowski K, Ma J, Golonzhka O, Laumet GO, Gutti T, van Duzer JH, Mazitschek R, Jarpe MB, Heijnen CJ, Kavelaars A. HDAC6 inhibition effectively reverses chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. Pain 158(6):1126-1137, 2017. e-Pub 2017. PMID: 28267067.
- van Velthoven CT, Dzietko M, Wendland MF, Derugin N, Faustino J, Heijnen CJ, Ferriero DM, Vexler ZS. Mesenchymal stem cells attenuate MRI-identifiable injury, protect white matter, and improve long-term functional outcomes after neonatal focal stroke in rats. J Neurosci Res 95(5):1225-1236, 2017. e-Pub 2016. PMID: 27781299.
- Chiu GS, Maj MA, Rizvi S, Dantzer R, Vichaya EG, Laumet G, Kavelaars A, Heijnen CJ. Pifithrin-µ prevents cisplatin-induced chemobrain by preserving neuronal mitochondrial function. Cancer Res 77(3):742-752, 2017. e-Pub 2016. PMID: 27879267.
- 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. Pediatr Res 81(1-1):127-135, 2017. e-Pub 2016. PMID: 27632779.
- Maj MA, Ma J, Krukowski KN, Kavelaars A, Heijnen CJ. Inhibition of mitochondrial p53 accumulation by PFT-μ prevents cisplatin-induced peripheral neuropathy. Front Mol Neurosci 10:108, 2017. e-Pub 2017. PMID: 28458631.
- Lacourt TE, Heijnen CJ. Mechanisms of neurotoxic symptoms as a result of breast cancer and its treatment: considerations on the contribution of stress, inflammation, and cellular bioenergetics. Curr Breast Cancer Rep 9(2):70-81, 2017. e-Pub 2017. PMID: 28616125.
- Zhou W, Kavelaars A, Heijnen CJ. Metformin prevents cisplatin-induced cognitive impairment and brain damage in mice. PLoS One 11(3):e0151890, 2016. e-Pub 2016. PMID: 27018597.
- 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 78(5):520-6, 2015. e-Pub 2015. PMID: 26270577.
- Krukowski K, Nijboer CH, Huo X, Kavelaars A, Heijnen CJ. Prevention of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy by the small-molecule inhibitor pifithrin-μ. Pain 156(11):2184-92, 2015. PMID: 26473292.
- Heijnen CJ, Uytdehaag F, Pot CH, Ballieux RE. Feedback inhibition by human primed T-helper cells. Nature 280(5723):589-91, 1979. PMID: 313527.