Research experience - supervision, funding

Curriculum vitae Merel (Jelméra) Ritskes-Hoitinga

January 2019



Supervision of (completed) PhD studies


  • Judith van Luijk, From the 3Rs to Systematic Reviews (thesis defended 24 May 2017)
  • Mathieu Sommers, Refinement of anaesthesia and analgesia in rats (2009)
  • Rikke Thon , Phenotyping of genetically modified mice - a multidisciplinary approach to improve implementation of phenotyping protocols (2008).
  • Carlijn Hooijmans, Modulation of dementia by diet in genetically modified mice (2008)
  • Morten Kobæk Larsen, Refinement of colon cancer models (2004).
  • Peter Bollen, Nutrition of minipigs (2001).
  • Charlotte Stub, Fluctuating asymmetry as a method to evaluate welfare disturbances (2003). (Co-supervisor)
  • Kirsten Dahl, Characterisation and welfare aspects of transgenic mice models (2006). (Co-supervisor)



Supervision of students


  • Master student Judith van Luijk 2010, factors improving 3R implementation in practice – national questionnaires and workshop
  • Master student Nieky van Veggel 2010, guidelines for systematic reviews
  • Biology student Laura van Dijk 2009, literature review on probiotics in animal studies
  • Anne Nagtegaal, van Hall institute, 3R search and questionnaires
  • Biomedical students Zjwan Housein, Patricia Reichgelt, Dennis Remst 2007-2008. Food restriction, health and ageing.
  • Postdoctoral students Animal Welfare Officer education 2006-2007, Pascalle van Loo and Miriam van der Meer. Workable quality systems in practice.
  • Master student in laboratory animal science Tineke Coenen 2006-2007. Effective communication during organisational changes.
  • Student in laboratory animal management Rian van der Heijden 2006-2007. Improving 3R implementation by the 3R Research Center.
  • Student in laboratory animal management Anne Nagtegaal 2005-2006. Improving 3R search and 3R implementation strategies.
  • Master student in biomedicine Lene Rud 2002 – 2003. Humane endpoints in a liver metastasis model.
  • Master student in biomedicine Esben Østerberg-Eller 2002 – 2003. The influence of food restriction in minipigs on body weight regulation and diabetes indicators.
  • Master student Nanna Møller Sørensen 2001 – 2002. Genetic characterization of an animal model for colon cancer research.
  • Master student in biomedicine Christian Schledermann (1999). Feeding schedules in rabbits.
  • Master student in biology Thomas Krohn (1998). Feeding and behaviour in rabbits.
  • Master student in biology Marianne Nygaard Jensen (2003-2004). Diet and male fertility.
  • Medical student David Yoon (2004). Nutrition versus obesity and diabetes type 2.
  • Medical student Ann Helene Jensen (2004). Dietary patterns versus health.
  • Medical student Trine Sønder (2004). Mistletoe, alternative treatment for cancer?
  • Medical student Henrik Hedegaard Pedersen (1999). Behavioural tests in the transgenic rheeler mouse.
  • Medical students Linn Helleland and Saadia Khan, (2002-2003). Ethical aspects of animal use in basic and clinical research.
  • Biomedical student Marianne Kruuse (2004). Refining animal models in pain research.


Before 1997, the following Master students were (co-)supervised at Utrecht University and Unilever Research Laboratory (nutritional studies):

  • R van Ruiven
  • C Adams
  • ACM Schoenmakers
  • SJAJ Soeterboek
  • YMC Henskens
  • HNA Grooten
  • JGH Sterck
  • Y Kootstra
  • I van Camp



Supervision of scientific staff


  • 2018-2019 Visiting PhD student Jennifer Stone, Australian National University, Canberra
  • >2017: Visiting Associate Professor Dr. Brett Lidbury, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
  • Dr. Cathalijn Leenaars (postdoc) since 2015-2016. Systematic reviews on translation of animal studies in the field of reumathoid arthritis and cystic fibrosis (NWO project).
  • Dr. Kim Wever (Assistant professor) since 2012. Research and teaching in the field of systematic reviews.
  • Dr. Judith van Luijk (postdoc) since 2018. Research and teaching in the field of systematic reviews.
  • PhD student Judith van Luijk 2010-2017. 3Rs and systematic reviews.
  • Dr. Marlies Leenaars (Assistant Professor) since 2009. Execution of systematic reviews. Teaching Laboratory Animal Science and systematic reviews.
  • Dr. Rob de Vries (Assistant professor), since 2009. Execution of systematic reviews. Teaching and execution of systematic reviews, management.
  • Dr. Carlijn Hooijmans (Assistant Professor), since 2008. Developing guidelines for systematic reviews. Developing guidelines, performing research and teaching in the field of systematic reviews.
  • Drs. Yvonne Cuijpers, 2008-2009. National questionnaires on how the 3R search and implementation is performed and how this can be improved.
  • Dr. Bart Savenije (postdoc), 2006-2008. Improved search and implementation of the 3Rs, systematic reviews and meta-analysis.
  • Dr. Inger Marie Jegstrup (postdoc) 2000-2005. Enrichment and welfare; influence of diet and enrichment on reproduction in the rat.



Participation in numberous evaluation/opposition committees of (PhD, Bachelor and Master exam) studies, appointment committees of scientific staff, – available upon request


Obtained funding


  • The PhD study of Peter Bollen was made possible through financial support of The Danish Academy of Technical Sciences ((ATV): 50% of the wages returned to the firm where the PhD candidate was working and 225.000 DKK paid to the university.
  • Together with Morten Kobaek Larsen 500.000 DKK in total were obtained from various Danish funds for doing experiments into the refinement of colon cancer metastases rat models.
  • Together with Morten Kobaek Larsen 100.000 DKK was obtained for testing the effects of falcarinol in a colon cancer rat model and 300.000 DKK for developing alternative medicine (willow bark) to treat chronic pain.
  • Novo Nordisk supported an enrichment project in rats executed by Inger Marie Jegstrup by 115.000 DKk.
  • For the organisation of 2 external courses in Laboratory Animal Science at the Agricultural Center in Foulum, 100.000 DKK was earned.
  • Novo Nordisk supported the development of an automated feeding device for group-housed rodents with 180.000 DKK.
  • Study and travel grants were obtained from the COST action B24 for Geertje van der Wielen and Luuk Lubbers in order to attend a course on Refinemement in primate research in the US (2007).
  • Travel grants were obtained for Inger Marie Jegstrup and Esben Eller from Laboratory Animals Ltd. and LASA for the young presenters session at the LASA conferences in 2001 and 2002 respectively and Scandlas travel grants for Esben Eller, Lene Rud and Marianne Nygaard Jensen in 2003 and 2004 for presenting at Scandlas meetings
  • Through the Center for Bioethics a literature study on characterisation protocols for genetically modified mice executed by Inger Marie Jegstrup was funded (90.000 DKK) (2e geldstroom).
  • 1.1 million DKK have been obtained from the Forskningscenter for Økologisk Jordbrug for the execution of a 3 generation rat study examining the effects on fertility of ecologically versus conventionally grown diets (2e geldstroom).
  • Rikke Thons PhD project (parttime over 5 years) is paid by the firm where she is employed. Rikke received 115.000 DKK from Novo Nordisk for her PhD project on phenotypic characterisation of transgenic mice.
  • Participant in COST programme on laboratory animal science and welfare, B24, 2004-2009, 325.000 EURO travel grant in total for all European partners.
  • 20.000 € from the ESLAV/ECLAM foundation for improved standardisation of nutrition as an experimental factor, December 2006.
  • 175.000 € from Radboud University innovation fund for establishment of the 3R Research Centre, December 2006
  • 175.000 € from the Radboud University innovation fund for the further development of Systematic Reviews of animal studies, 2010
  • 175.000 € from the Dutch fund for alternatives (ZonMW) for developing guidelines for systematic literature reviews and meta-analysis 2008
  • 95.000 € from the Dutch fund for alternatives (ZonMW) for performing national questionnaires into the 3Rs 2008
  • 150.000 € from the Dutch fund for 3R alternatives (ZonMW) for executing systematic literature reviews 2009








  • 270.000 € from ZonMW for organising national workshops in the field of Synthesis of Evidence/Systematic Reviews of animal studies and providing coaching for the practical execution. 2012-2013
  • 130.000 € from the Ministry of Health for developing methodological tools and guidelines for the execution of Systematic Reviews of animal studies. 2012-2013
  • 270.000 € from ZonMW For stimulating and implementing synthesis of evidence for animal studies. Workshops and supervision. 2013-2016.
  • 75.000 € to SYRCLE from the Ministry of Economic Affairs for developing e-learning module systematic reviews 2015
  • 180.000 € from the Radboud University innovation fund for teaching and coaching Systematic Reviews of animal studies, 2015-2017
  • 37.500 € to SYRCLE from the National Toxicology Program (US), to support development of a database of systematic reviews of animal studies. 2015
  • 40.000 € to SYRCLE from ZonMW / the Ministry, to perform a systematic review on the effects of toe and ear clipping on animal welfare. 2015.
  • A tender of 320.000€ was obtained from EFSA for providing European workshops and coaching on systematic reviews of animal studies to the European Food Safety Authority 2016-2018
  • 380k€ from ZonMW for workshops and supervision at location. 2015-2017
  • 3 months visiting professorship for 2017 granted at the Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University, Denmark
  • NWO funding (SYRCLE funding 105k€) on defining translational success factors from preclinical studies to clinic. Project together with Utrecht University and two companies.
  • Erasmus+ mobility KA107 with Australia. (47k€)  2017-2019.
  • Subsidy LAL (Laboratory Animals Ltd.) for roundtable 25 September in Edinburgh, 2600 GBP
  • 380k€ subsidy from ZonMW for workshops and coaching at locations outside Nijmegen. 2018-2021
  • A tender of 160 k€ was obtained from EFSA, for providing European workshops on training in collecting, appraising and synthesising evidence for scientific assessments at the European Food Safety Authority 2019-2021
  • SYRCLE as subcontractor for Ecorys in a 260 k€ project from the Joint Research Center for the ”Support to the development of a 3Rs education and training strategy with accompanying guidance, and the development of practical 3Rs education and training resources" (released under the DG EAC Framework Contract EAC-07-2015)
  • SYRCLE as lead contractor for a consortium for a 140k€ project of the Joint Research center on “Promoting alternatives to animal testing through the development of eLearning tools to facilitate uptake of non-animal alternatives” with the following members: 3RCC Switzerland, Ecorys, EBTC and IIVIS