Marc Vooijs, is chair of the Department Radiotherapy and programme leader Basic and Translational Cancer Biology program at the GROW research Institute for Oncology. He did his Ph.D. in the Netherlands Cancer Institute with A. Berns and his postdoctoral work at Washington University in Saint Louis with Raphael Kopan and in the Hubrecht Institute with Hans Clevers. In 2006 he started his own group at the Department of Pathology at the UMC- Utrecht (Head Prof P. van Diest). In 2010 he moved to the MUMC+ to become head laboratory research at the Department of Radiation Oncology. In 2012 he was elected a member of the Young Academia Europe (YAE). His work is supported by the ERC, AICR (WCR) and Dutch Cancer Society (KWF).
His research is focused on mechanistic insight into signal transduction by NOTCH family proteins and their context-dependent role in stem cells, cancer development and treatment response, with an emphasis on tumor microenvironment and hypoxia.
Kasper Rouschop is an associate professor and group leader at the department of radiotherapy. He obtained his Ph.D. in nephrology at the University of Amsterdam in 2006 with Sandrine Florquin, Jan J. Weening, and Steven T. Pals. Currently, he is the principal scientist of a group focused on unraveling the role of hypoxia-induced autophagy and extracellular vesicle secretion.
In the past years he received prestigious grants for personal funding (VENI (2007), KWF (2012)) and project funding (KWF (2010, 2015, 2019), STOPhersentumoren.nl (2013), WWCR (2015), ZZF (2019)) as principal investigator. His recent interests are unravelling the mechanisms of hypoxia-induced autophagy and extracellular vesicle secretion to exploit this knowledge for improvement of treatment efficacy. Pre-clinical results from his group have lead to multiple investigator driven phase I/II trial in patients suffering from small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and glioblastoma multiforme .
Kim Kampen is an assistant professor and group leader at the department of radiotherapy. During her Ph.D. (2013-2015), Kim worked with Prof. de Bont (University of Groningen) on the role of vascular endothelial growth factors in pediatric acute myeloid leukemia. From June 2015 onwards, she performed postdoctoral research at the Catholic University (KU Leuven, Belgium) with Prof. Kim De Keersmaecker, studying the role of ribosomal gene defects in cancer. She identified the so called “oncoribosomes”, mutant ribosomes that have specific advantageous translational capacities in T-cell leukemia. Kim showed that RPL10 R98S mutant ribosomes accumulated on a serine synthesis enzyme to induce its translation, which fuels downstream purine synthesis to support leukemia progression in vivo (Kampen et al. Nature Communications 2019). Her current research is focused on the identification of new molecular mechanisms of serine/glycine synthesis upregulation in cancer, which allows building a patient stratification framework for cancers that can benefit from serine synthesis inhibiting compounds. She received several awards for her research, including the ASH abstract award in 2013, LTMT award for leukemia research in 2016, the AACR-Pezcoller Foundation Scholar-in-Training Award in 2017, and the Rimaux Bartier donation award for best-ranked postdoctoral researcher in 2018
Francesca Rapino is an assistant professor and group leader at the department of radiotherapy. She obtained a PhD in molecular pharmacy (2013) from the J. W. Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main (Germany) with Prof. Simone Fulda and then worked as a post-doc at the University of Liege (Belgium ) in Dr. Pierre Close’ lab. Her work focuses on the understanding of the molecular mechanisms regulating tumor growth and sensitivity/resistance to therapy with a particular interest in the regulation of protein homeostasis. Her recent work highlighted the role of specific tRNA modifying enzymes (U34-enzymes) in maintaining colon cancer stem cell capacity, metastasis, and resistance to BRAF inhibitors in cancer. In 2018 she published the first study causatively linking codon-specific translation to cancer resistance to target therapy, identified Hif1 as a direct translational target of the U34-enzymes whose synthesis and correct translation is needed to maintain BRAFV600E survival upon treatment (Rapino et al., Nature 2018). Her current line of research will study the impact of the “passive actors” of translation, such as tRNA species (i.e. isoacceptors/isodecoders), ribosome pools and writers and erasers enzymes of these nucleic acids (i.e. U34-TM enzymes, ADATs, etc.), in the establishment of the proteomes required in the induction, the development and the adaptation to the stress of tumors. Francesca was granted several foundings and awards during her career, among others the King Baudouin Foundation award for biochemical research on cancer (2019), the Prix Frederic Van Den Brule (2018), the Prix Fondation Bonjean – Oleffe (2016). She was also personally supported by the Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS) and by the Foundation against cancer.
Tom Keulers (Autophagy)
Arjan Groot (NOTCH)
(Radiation and stem cells
Violeta Mendez Ovares
Anaís Sánchez Castillo
Kim Savelkouls (Autophagy)
Jolanda Piepers (NOTCH)
Marijke Zonneveld, PhD (Autophagy)