Dr Pieter Goossens graduated in 2012 at the Maastricht University, studying atherosclerotic plaque macrophage accumulation in the group of Prof. Menno de Winther (Department of Molecular Genetics ). He then joined the lab of Dr Toby Lawrence at the Centre d’Immunologie de Marseille-Luminy in Marseille (France) as a post-doctoral researcher, where he investigated the mechanisms through which tumor-associated macrophages obtain their characteristic phenotype. In 2016, he returned to the Maastricht University where, in the lab of Prof. Erik Biessen at the Department of Pathology, he studies macrophage phenotypical and functional heterogeneity in the atherosclerosis context.
Macrophages display a high degree of phenotypic heterogeneity that reflects the cells’ micro-environment. Pieter combines classical histology with transcriptomics, multi-label fluorescent microscopy and mass spectrometry imaging to study the spatial distribution of macrophage subsets in human and murine atherosclerotic plaques and the impact of local triggers on their phenotype and functions.