Martin van Royen MSc, PhD



Martin van Royen MSc, PhD

Martin van Royen MSc, PhD

Assistant professor (Department of Pathology)

Research interest

Using my expertise in quantitative fluorescence microscopy, ranging from super-resolution to high-throughput imaging, I study mechanisms that drive tumour growth and metastasis and develop tools to detect and grade prostate cancer in clinical samples. These aims are reflected in these parallel research lines:


  • Role and mechanism of extracellular vesicles in urogenital tumours

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are small membrane vesicles that are secreted by most if not all cell types  and enable communication between tumour cells and the normal surrounding tissue. In recent years, EVs are emerging as important factors in tumour growth, formation of a tumour favourable microenvironment and generation of a pre-metastatic niche. Using quantitative fluorescence microscopy, we aim to unravel the mechanisms of EV uptake and processing by their target cells.  Improved understanding of their exact role and the development of strategies that block EV uptake or inhibit EV mediated communication will provide opportunities for novel therapeutic strategies to inhibit tumour growth and metastasis.


  • Quantitative analysis of (tumour-derived) EVs in clinical biofluids

EVs secreted by tumour cells are an important source for biomarkers to characterize the malignant cells from which they originate. These tumour-derived EVs can be found in many body fluids (including urine) and are easily accessible. With this in mind we have developed a rapid, sensitive and robust assay for the quantification and characterization of EVs (EVQuant). This assay is applicable in a large variety of EV studies on samples of cell culture model systems, EVs in clinical samples and synthetic vesicles in therapeutic approaches. Ultimately, we aim to develop this assay as a minimally-invasive method for diagnosis and prognosis of prostate cancer in liquid biopsies.


  • 3D pathology of PCa

Pathologic investigations both for diagnostic and research purposes are routinely carried out by microscopic evaluation of 5 micro-meter thick tissue slides, which gives a two-dimensional (2D) cross-section of an actually three-dimensional (3D) architecture. In fact, little is known of the 3D microscopic composition of cancer and other diseases. By developing and applying optical clearing approaches for tissues, we improve insight in the 3D architecture of growth patterns and strongly enhance understanding of cancer behaviour and important cancer related processes in clinical cancer samples and complex tumour models. Imaging 3D tumour composition is not only of academic interest, but could have major impact on pathologic practice.




Martin E. van Royen, assistant professor


Department of Pathology, Erasmus MC

Visiting address; Office: H Be 0346, Wytemaweg 80, 3015 GE Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Mail address; P.O. Box 2040, 3000 CA Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Tel: +31 10 7037644, Mobile: +31 6 12039870

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