WNT-mediated signaling relay in stem cells and oncogenesis - from basic biology to applications


Secreted WNT glycoproteins control embryonic development in all multicellular organisms, including humans. In adults, these proteins also sustain the critical supply of stem cells that replenish various body tissues (e.g. intestine, skin and nervous system). How cells receive WNT signals at the cell surface and relay these signals into cellular responses remains poorly understood, partly due to the lack of tools and systems to read out WNT receptor-mediated activities. The underlying molecular mechanisms provide attractive drug targets, particularly in regenerative medicine and cancer treatment.  

WntsApp will take an integrated, multidisciplinary and intersectorial approach to address key unresolved questions on how WNT signals are relayed from the membrane to the cytosol in stem cells and cancer. By fostering a symbiosis between high-tech GPCR pharmacology, advanced in vivo imaging and peptide chemistry on the one hand and efficient transfer of know-how between academic and private sector partners on the other, WntsApp offers a unique training platform with a strong potential for innovation.

Training program

The ITN WntsApp will:

(i) Provide a committed training programme for young researchers to bridge the gap between basic scientific knowledge and drug development,
(ii) Centre research on a key cancer-signalling pathway, WNT signalling, to stimulate synergies
(iii) Strengthen the link between international partners and private enterprises to stimulate innovation and facilitate exploitation of results.
WntsApp unites seven academic full partners at the fore-front of structural, (bio)chemical and medical biology with three SMEs oriented towards protein interactions and development of peptide-based therapeutics from six EU countries (NL, SE, UK, DE, CZ, IL), providing a highly interactive research and training programme.

15 exciting intersectorial research projects

WntsApp offers interdisciplinary and innovative training for a selected group of 12 early stage researchers (ESR) and 3 experienced researchers (ER). Selected fellows will have the chance to work under internationally recognized supervisors in a highly international and synergistic setting.

Highly motivated and talented students are invited to apply here. Projects will start in the autumn of 2013.


WntsApp is funded by the FP7 Marie Curie Initial Training Network program with 4.0 million euro for the period of 2013 - 2017. The consortium and training program is coordinated by Madelon Maurice, Department of Cell Biology, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands.


All positions in the WntsApp network have been filled