Team

Click on a picture to read someone’s biography.

Isabel Dapena, MD, PhD

Medical Director MHR, Corneal Surgeon BIG 59909911301, Senior Clinical Scientist

Viridiana Kocaba, MD, PhD, MScE, FEBO

Senior Clinical Scientist

Gerrit Melles, MD, PhD

Corneal Surgeon BIG 49032942501, Senior Clinical Scientist

Korine van Dijk, PhD

Head of Clinic MHR - Research Scientist - Optometrist

Keamela Vasanthananthan, MD

Cornea Fellow - Corneal Surgeon BIG 29918137801

Franka Ducheine

Operational Manager Clinic

Lisanne Ham, PhD

Medical Biologist - Research Scientist

Marjolein Brouwer

Medical Assistant

Lydia van der Star, BOptom

Optometrist - OR assistant - Research Scientist

Jaqueline van Ballegooijen

Optometrist

Christa de Kort, MA

Operational Manager Academy

Vincent Bourgonje, PhD

Research Scientist

Indre Vasiliauskaite, MSc

Research Scientist - PhD Student

Bishoy Younan

Laser Room, Technical Assistant

Corine Wolthof

Front Office Executive

Jolanda van Unen

Front Office Executive

Sandra Chin

Front Office Executive

Maureen Lieuw

Front Office Executive

Dina Zomot

Project Manager - OR assistant

Paulina Bylewska

Eye Bank Technician - OR assistant

Simone Claessens

Eye Bank Technician - OR assistant

NIIOS MHR

Isabel Dapena, MD, PhD

Medical Director MHR, Corneal Surgeon BIG 59909911301, Senior Clinical Scientist

ENG: Dr. Isabel Dapena completed her residency in Ophthalmology in 2008 in Madrid (Spain), with an observership at New York Presbyterian Hospital (New York, USA). She then followed a cornea fellowship at the Netherlands Institute for Innovative Ocular Surgery (NIIOS), Rotterdam, the Netherlands. She obtained her PhD with European mention in 2012 on ‘DMEK surgical technique: results and complications’, winning the Extraordinary PhD Award in international collaboration with NIIOS and Miguel Hernandez University (Alicante, Spain). Isabel Dapena is a corneal surgeon specialized in corneal transplantation.
Her expertise is in advanced lamellar keratoplasty techniques such as Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK) and Bowman layer transplantation. She is one of the surgeons with the most experience worldwide in DMEK surgery and is specialized in DMEK in complex diseases. Her current research mainly focuses on advanced DMEK and the development of new treatment options for keratoconus such as Bowman layer onlay transplantation.

NL: Haar klinische en wetenschappelijke expertise liggen op het gebied van moderne lamellaire hoornvliestransplantatietechnieken. Al vanaf 2008 is zij nauw betrokken bij de uitvoering van DMEK-operaties en de (verdere) ontwikkeling ervan. Dit maakt haar één van de meest ervaren DMEK-chirurgen wereldwijd, zowel voor standaard-DMEK als voor DMEK in meer complexe ogen. Naast haar werk op het gebied van DMEK doet zij momenteel onderzoek naar nieuwe behandelmethoden voor anterieure hoornvliespathologie (o.a. keratoconus), zoals Bowman layer onlay-transplantatie.

NIIOS MHR

Viridiana Kocaba, MD, PhD, MScE, FEBO

Senior Clinical Scientist

ENG: Viridiana Kocaba is a Senior Clinician Scientist specialized in corneal and external diseases. She graduated from Paris V René Descartes Medical School in 2006 and completed subspecialty training in cornea, external diseases and refractive surgery. She performed her PhD work in the group of Prof. Ula Jurkunas at the Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA to develop a treatment paradigm using tissue engineering for corneal reconstruction. She defended her PhD summa cum laude in 2018 (international collaboration between Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA and Claude Bernard Lyon 1-University, Lyon, France).
Her work is divided between clinical work and research. Her clinical work focuses on corneal transplantation both basic and advanced forms, especially DMEK surgery. She is also specialized in the treatment of complications after refractive surgery. Her research interests cover all aspects of corneal disease, with a main focus on endothelial diseases including laboratory-based research investigating new corneal endothelial cell-based therapies. Her research also involves the development of novel transplant techniques, new instruments for corneal transplantation, and the development of novel drug delivery devices.

NL: Dr. Kocaba studeerde af in 2006 aan de Paris V-René Descartes Medical School. Zij voltooide haar oogheelkundige specialisatie aan de Claude Bernard Lyon1-University, Lyon, Frankrijk. Daarna deed ze een subspecialisatie in hoornvlies, voorste oogsegment en refractiechirurgie. Ze verbleef vervolgens twee jaar aan het Cornea Center of Excellence, Harvard Medical School in Boston, VS. Haar doctoraat in weefselengineering voor hoornvliesreconstructie verdedigde ze summa cum laude in 2018 (internationale samenwerking tussen Harvard Medical School en Claude Bernard Lyon 1-University). Dr. Kocaba verdeelt haar werk momenteel over klinisch werk en onderzoek. Haar klinische activiteiten richten zich voornamelijk op hoornvliestransplantatie; ze heeft met name veel ervaring in zowel de standaard als meer gecompliceerde DMEK-operaties. Ook is zij gespecialiseerd in de behandeling van complicaties na refractiechirurgie. Haar huidige onderzoeksactiviteiten (zowel klinisch- als laboratoriumonderzoek) zijn gericht op nieuwe therapieën voor Fuchs endotheeldystrofie.

NIIOS MHR

Gerrit Melles, MD, PhD

Corneal Surgeon BIG 49032942501, Senior Clinical Scientist

ENG: Gerrit Melles is a cornea specialist and founder of the Netherlands Institute for Innovative Ocular Surgery (NIIOS), the Melles Cornea Clinic Rotterdam, and Amnitrans EyeBank Rotterdam. His clinical work focuses on the management of corneal disorders and he is actively involved in research and development of ophthalmic surgical techniques and has invented several advanced lamellar keratoplasty techniques among others Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK) and Bowman layer transplantation. Furthermore, he has developed instruments and medical devices required for the invented techniques, pioneered the use of staining solutions such as VisionBlue®, MembraneBlue® for ophthalmic surgeries and developed the Surgicube® for performing ophthalmic surgeries under sterile conditions in any clinical setting.
Dr Melles has received several awards in recognition of his contribution to ophthalmology. Among others, Dr Melles is the 2017 Helen Keller Award Laureate, and received the 2015 Dastgheib Pioneer Award in Ocular Innovation at the Duke University Eye Center, and an American Academy of Ophthalmology Achievement Award in 2009 and 2005.
Dr Melles has authored almost 300 peer-reviewed scientific publications and book chapters.

NL: Dr. Gerrit Melles is corneaspecialist en oprichter van het NIIOS, de Melles Hoornvlieskliniek en Amnitrans EyeBank. Hij studeerde Geneeskunde in Leiden en behaalde zijn specialisatie Oogheelkunde in Nijmegen. Zijn promotieonderzoek verrichtte hij zowel in het Sharp Cabrillo Hospital, San Diego, VS, als aan de Universiteit van Nijmegen. Zijn klinische werkzaamheden focussen op hoornvliesaandoeningen en hij is baanbrekend in onderzoek en ontwikkeling van oogheelkundige chirurgische technieken (zoals DMEK). Hij ontwikkelde medische instrumenten en apparatuur en was pionier in het vereenvoudigen van oogoperaties door middel van kleuroplossingen. Ook is hij de uitvinder van de Surgicube®, een mobiele steriele operatiekamer. Hij heeft meerdere prijzen ontvangen voor zijn bijdragen aan de oogheelkunde. In 2017 kreeg hij nog de Helen Keller Award in de VS, in 2019 de Tilanusmedaille. Dr. Melles heeft meer dan 300 wetenschappelijke publicaties op zijn naam. Zijn missie is om minimaal invasief en met behoud van de natuurlijke anatomie oogheelkundige problemen te lijf te gaan.

NIIOS MHR

Korine van Dijk, PhD

Head of Clinic MHR - Research Scientist - Optometrist

Korine van Dijk is head of Melles Cornea Clinic Rotterdam (MHR) and has an eloborate knowledge of corneal disorders.
After her graduation in Optometry in 1995 from the Hogeschool van Utrecht, her clinical work mainly concentrated on the anterior segment of the eye. After joining NIIOS in 2009, next to her clinical activities she conducted multiple research projects focussing on the clinical outcomes and optical performance of the different modern lamellar keratoplasty techniques performed at MHR, such as DMEK and Bowman layer transplantation. In collaberation with Leiden University, she defended her PhD on this subject in 2018.
Currently, her work is a combination of managing clinical and executive activities in the clinic and clinical research.

NIIOS MHR

Keamela Vasanthananthan, MD

Cornea Fellow - Corneal Surgeon BIG 29918137801

ENG: Dr. Keamela Vasanthananthan received her medical degree at Utrecht University in 2014. She completed her residency in Ophthalmology in September 2020 at the UMC Amsterdam, focusing on the anterior eye segment, cornea, cataract and eyelid surgery. Keamela Vasanthananthan joined the NIIOS and Melles Cornea Clinic Team as a Corneal Fellow in October 2020. She is specializing in the treatment of corneal disorders, and specifically in lamellar cornea transplants and UV crosslinking. In addition to her clinical activities, she conducts scientific research into Fuchs endothelial dystrophy and the clinical outcomes of DMEK.

NL: Dr. Keamela Vasanthananthan voltooide in 2014 de studie geneeskunde aan de Universiteit Utrecht. Hierna rondde zij de opleiding tot oogheelkundig specialist af in september 2020 in het UMC Amsterdam, met als aandachtsgebieden het voorste oogsegment, cornea, cataract en ooglidchirurgie. Per oktober 2020 is zij als cornea-fellow werkzaam bij het NIIOS en de Melles Hoornvlieskliniek en verdiept zij zich in de behandeling van hoornvliesaandoeningen in het algemeen, met specifieke focus op lamellaire hoornvliestransplantaties en UV-crosslinking. Naast haar klinische werkzaamheden verricht zij wetenschappelijk onderzoek naar Fuchs endotheeldystrofie en de klinische uitkomsten van DMEK.

NIIOS MHR

Franka Ducheine

Operational Manager Clinic

NIIOS MHR

Lisanne Ham, PhD

Medical Biologist - Research Scientist

NIIOS MHR

Marjolein Brouwer

Medical Assistant

NIIOS MHR

Lydia van der Star, BOptom

Optometrist - OR assistant - Research Scientist

Lydia van der Star joined NIIOS as an optometrist in 2019. She has a background in general optometry, refractive laser, and cataract surgery with keen interest for the cornea and is committed to improve eye care in general. During her studies she was involved in several international eye health care projects. Her current working profile at the NIIOS consist of optometric examinations and assisting during UV-crosslinking, lamellar keratoplasty and Bowman layer transplantations at the Melles Cornea Clinic. Her current research focuses on Bowman layer transplantation for advanced keratoconus and on the management of endothelial corneal disorders.

NIIOS MHR

Jaqueline van Ballegooijen

Optometrist

NIIOS MHR

Christa de Kort, MA

Operational Manager Academy

NIIOS MHR

Vincent Bourgonje, PhD

Research Scientist

Vincent Bourgonje is an R&D scientist at NIIOS since 2014. He graduated from Utrecht University in the field of Biomedical Sciences with electives in virology and physiology. His PhD research at Medical Physiology (Utrecht University) concerned translational research on cardiac arrhythmias and remodeling. At NIIOS his research focuses on clinical outcomes after corneal transplantation and clinical validation of ophthalmological devices. Besides R&D activities, he also leads the clinical imaging team, is biosafety officer of the cell culture lab, and auditor in the quality team. His interests are broad, which his position at NIIOS reflects perfectly.

NIIOS MHR

Indre Vasiliauskaite, MSc

Research Scientist - PhD Student

Indre Vasiliauskaite is a research scientist at NIIOS since 2019. Indre has a background in biomedical sciences and obtained her MSc degree at the Erasmus University Rotterdam in Clinical Research. Her current research focusses on clinical outcomes and graft survival after DMEK. She is especially interested in long-term outcomes after corneal transplantation and how outcomes are affected by specific donor-, surgery-, or patient-related parameters. She also contributes to many other projects at NIIOS thanks to her strong data analysis skills. Currently, Indre is working towards obtaining a PhD degree here at NIIOS in affiliation with the Leiden University Medical Center.

NIIOS MHR

Bishoy Younan

Laser Room, Technical Assistant

NIIOS MHR

Corine Wolthof

Front Office Executive

NIIOS MHR

Jolanda van Unen

Front Office Executive

NIIOS MHR

Sandra Chin

Front Office Executive

NIIOS MHR

Maureen Lieuw

Front Office Executive

NIIOS MHR

Dina Zomot

Project Manager - OR assistant

NIIOS MHR

Paulina Bylewska

Eye Bank Technician - OR assistant

NIIOS MHR

Simone Claessens

Eye Bank Technician - OR assistant