Award for Cultivating Excellence 2018: StaalLab

In this feature, learn more about one of our 2018 finalists, the StaalLab.

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"Strong international group, innovative, bold and open minded"

Please introduce your lab, highlighting any key members. 

Principle Investigator

Prof. Frank Staal (Dutch): a fanatic runner, but due to injuries he runs a bit less these days and has also picked up biking. He also likes to cook and spend time with friends and family.


  • Dr. Frederico Morretti (Italian): "After work I like keeping fit doing sport and travel around to meet new cultures and know new places"
  • Dr. Anita Ordas (Hungarian): In her free time, she likes travelling, hiking, crafting and baking
  • Dr. Karin Pike-Overzet (Dutch/American): likes to watch gymnastics and cheers for both the Dutch and US teams

PhD students

  • Abullah Alabdulkarim (Saudi): a guest PhD Saudi candidate, is fond of preparing traditional Saudi dishes, and loves a nice summer BBQ
  • Parisa Tajer (Iranian): "Apart from the lab, I enjoy watercolor painting, travelling and knowing different cultures."  
  • Veronica Della (Italian): "I really like travelling, dancing and watch TV series and basketball matches."
  • Laura Garcia Perez (Andorran): “On my free time I enjoy dancing Zumba and traveling”


Marja, Sandra and Lieke help us stay on the right path


Martijn Cordes, besides a data wizard, also a gifted electric guitar player

"they really focus on the full scope of translational research, from mouse to patient!"

What is your lab’s proudest achievement to date?

We are a small and very international lab, with a good atmosphere aiming to do top basic lab work that translates into clinical applications. Despite having much less funding than bigger labs, or industry sponsored labs, we still manage to make an impact for patients. Our RAG1 SCID gene therapy program is a case in point.

"people from the lab are kind and always very helpful for the scientific community"

Why is it important for labs/groups to share their achievements outside of their institution?

Helping others with our technology, getting papers published and grants awarded: it all helps.

"Great effort on bringing fundamental science to transnational and clinical work [and] trying to change the clinical trial policies to support patients"

What are your lab’s plans for the future?

We hope to bring gene therapy to a number of other diseases, including RAG2-SCID, XLA, Pompe’s disease and several other indications.

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