Nicki Covena

PhD student

Contact info

  • Address

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
    Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research (CNCR)
    Department of Complex Trait Genetics
    W&N building, G3
    De Boelelaan 1085
    1081 HV Amsterdam
    The Netherlands

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Short CV

2022 – present PhD candidate Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC
2019 – 2022 MSc. Biomedical Sciences – Molecular Neuroscience University of Amsterdam
2015 – 2019 BSc. Psychobiology University of Amsterdam


X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) is a hereditary metabolic disorder affecting the CNS white matter. ALD is caused by mutations in the ABCD1 gene, which leads to accumulation of very long-chain fatty acids and eventually loss of myelin. In recent years, studies have indicated that microglia have an early pathophysiologic role in ALD. However, currently established iPSC-derived organoid models do not inherently develop microglia. Therefore, the aim of my PhD project is to develop an ALD organoid model that contains microglia to elucidate the role of microglia in ALD disease pathology and to better understand the therapeutic potential of microglia derived from hematopoietic stem cells for the treatment of ALD.

Highlighted publications