Baart, Esther

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Esther Baart graduated from Wageningen University (The Netherlands) in 1998 with an MSc degree in Cell Biology. She continued at the university, researching on both female and male mammalian meiosis, and developed a murine model system for studying fertilization and embryo development after intracytoplasmic sperm injection with spermatozoa from an oligospermic mouse model. She went on to obtain her PhD degree at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Her thesis centered on studying chromosomal aneuploidies in human in vitro fertilization oocytes and embryos.

In 2005 she started working as a clinical embryologist and researcher at the Department of Reproduction and Gynaecology, University Medical Center, Utrecht. In the same year she was awarded the promising young scientist award at the 21st annual meeting of European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) in Copenhagen. In 2008 she was awarded a Veni grant from the Dutch Research Council (NWO) and moved back to the Erasmus MC to the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, where she is currently working as a clinical embryologist and senior researcher.

Current research interest
Epigenetic changes, such as changes in DNA methylation status and modified histones, are known to be important during early mouse embryo development. We are currently studying chromatin–based changes throughout human pre-implantation development. Our preliminary findings indicate that important differences exist in chromatin remodeling and heterochromatin establishment between human and mouse embryos. First, we aim to understand the role of these observations in lineage specification in human embryos and the impact for human stem cell derivation. Secondly, we have previously established that the incidence of chromosome segregation errors in human pre-implantation embryos is extremely high. As correct heterochromatin establishment is crucial for accurate chromosome segregation, we are investigating the role of the pericentric heterochromatin conformation on kinetochore formation and chromosomal passenger localization during early embryo development.


Key publications

Avo Santos M, van de Werken C, de Vries M, Jahr H, Vromans MJM, Laven JS, Fauser BCJM, Kops GJ, Lens SM, Baart EB (2011)
A role for Aurora C in the chromosomal passenger complex during human preimplantation embryo development
Human Reproduction 26:1868-1881

Avo Santos M, Teklenburg G, Macklon NS, Van Opstal D, Schuring-Blom GH, Krijtenburg P, De Vreeden-Elbertse J, Fauser BC, Baart EB (2010)
The fate of the mosaic embryo: Chromosomal constitution and development of day 4, 5 and 8 human embryos
Human Reproduction 25:1916-1926

Van der Heijden GW, van den Berg IM, Baart EB, Derijck AA, Martini E, de Boer P (2009)
Parental origin of chromatin in human monopronuclear zygotes revealed by asymmetric histone methylation patterns, differs between IVF and ICSI
Molecular Reproduction and Development 76:101-108

Baart, E.B., Martini, E., van den Berg, I., Macklon, N.S., Galjaard, R.-J.H., Fauser, B.C.J.M., Van Opstal, D (2006)
Preimplantation genetic screening reveals a high incidence of aneuploidy and mosaicism in embryos from young women undergoing IVF
Human Reproduction 21: 223-233

Baart, E.B., van der Heijden, G.W., van der Hoeven, F.A., Bakker, R., Cooper, T.G., de Boer, P. (2004)
Reduced oocyte activation and first cleavage rate after ICSI with spermatozoa from a sterile mouse chromosome mutant
Human Reproduction 19:1140-1147

Baart, E.B., De Rooij, D.G., Keegan, K.S., De Boer, P. (2000)
Distribution of Atr protein in primary spermatocytes of a mouse chromosomal mutant
Chromosoma 109:139-147