About usOur experimental and clinical research program is aimed at:
Molecular ImmunologyDendritic cells (DC) are the professional antigen presenting cells (APC) of our immune system. They are able to initiate immune responses against pathogens or tumors, but also have the capacity to prevent (auto)-immune responses harmful to the host. My research is centered around the molecular and functional analysis of DC in mouse and man. Applying different molecular approaches at the genomic and proteomic level a set of novel DC-antigens have been identified, including chemokines (DC-CK1, CXCL16), a novel multiple membrane spanning receptor (DC-STAMP), a transcription regulator (DC-SCRIPT). Knowledge regarding DC-immuno-biology is essential for the development and design of DC-based vaccines in mouse models as well as in clinical studies in cancer patients. More recently, regulatory T cells that are crucially involved in balancing the immune system are studied at the molecular and functional level as well as in immunotherapy of cancer.
Vascular Architecture and Microenvironmental ParametersAn important objective is the development of predictive profiles based on Vascular Architecture and Microenvironmental Parameters (VAMP). The ultimate goal is to provide a mechanistic basis for the optimization of treatments that combine radiotherapy with novel biological modifiers and for the development of patient selection strategies.
Current topics we focus on
- analyzing EGFR signaling related to radiation resistance (PI3-K/AKT pathway related to tumor vasculature)
- proliferation and hypoxia involvement
- non-invasive imaging of the tumor microenvironment (vasculature, hypoxia, proliferation and the EGFR)
- assessment of endogenous markers related to tumor cell metabolism (lactate, monocarboxylate transporters etc)
Techniques Radiotherapy & OncoImmunology LaboratoryRadiotherapy & OncoImmunology Laboratory: link
The biology of tumors is studied at the macroscopic (PET) and microscopic (cell, subcellular) level. The aim is to compare different functional imaging modalities for the same tumor.
The focus is on:
- Quantitative immunohistochemistry
- Cell culture systems
- Molecular Immunology
Quantitative immunohistochemistryThe backbone of this system are:
- the vascular architecture (9F1 or CD31/24)
- tumor blood perfusion (Hoechst 33342)
- exogeneous markers/indicators of hypoxia (CA-IX, pimonidazole)
- proliferation (BrdUrd, IdUrd, Ki67)
- growth factors ((p)EGFR, (p)AKT)
- DNA damage (gamma-H2AX, 53BP1)
QuantificationComponents of our digital imaging systems:
- multi-color fluorescence microscopy
- computer-controlled scanning and imaging system:
- CCD camera
- motorised scanning stage
- image acquisition and analysis software
Cell culture systemsOur laboratory has permission for genetically modified organisms ('ML-II').
The facilities are:
- Western Blotting
- Isolation of RNA and DNA
- Horizontal gel electrophoreses
- Incubations at 0.1-20% oxygen (Hypoxystation)