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Lab members

Daniel Peeper



Daniel S Peeper (PhD)

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group leader







Daniel Peeper is the Head of the Department of Molecular Oncology and chairs both the Scientific Faculty Council and the Translational Research Board at the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI). He holds a professorship in Functional Oncogenomics at the VU University Medical Center (VUmc).
Peeper studied Medical Biology at the VU University and received his PhD in the laboratory of Alex van der Eb at the University of Leiden (1994), for his work on adenoviral oncoproteins and cell cycle proteins. He received his postdoctoral training in the laboratories of Mark Ewen (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston) and René Bernards (NKI). In 2002, Peeper became Assistant Professor and three years later Associate Professor at NKI. Also in that year, he was elected as an EMBO Young Investigator.
In 2006, he received an NWO VICI award on synthetic lethality screens for novel anticancer drug targets. In 2007, he received the first KWF Queen Wilhelmina Award awarded by her Majesty the Queen Beatrix and the minister of Education, for his work on melanoma in collaboration with W. Mooi. In the same year, he received the Society for Melanoma Research Jr. Researcher Award. In 2008, Peeper was appointed Professor at the VUmc and was elected as EMBO member. In 2013, he received, together with colleagues including Anton Berns and Mike Stratton, an ERC Synergy grant (€15 million) for the development of combinatorial cancer therapy.
Peeper is member of the Board of the European Association for Cancer Research (EACR) and also serves on its Conference committee. He is a member of the SAB of the Fritz-Lipmann Institute (Germany) and is Board Member of the International Cell Senescence Association (ICSA).
Highlights of the Peeper lab include their discoveries that a genomic screen for anoikis resistance can be used to identify metastasis genes (Nature 2004); that Oncogene-Induced cellular Senescence (OIS) serves as a potent in vivo tumor suppressor mechanism limiting cancer progression (Nature 2005; New Engl J Med 2006); the identification of several OIS-associated oncogenes (Nat Cell Biol 2005; Nat Rev Cancer 2006); that OIS is associated with the activation of an inflammatory transcriptome (Cell 2008; Nat Rev Cancer 2009; Genes Dev 2010); the identification of a novel candidate melanoma suppressor gene (EMBO J, 2011) and of a key mechanism of human melanomagenesis involving abrogation of OIS by reduction of PTEN expression (Genes Dev, 2012). His laboratory also identified a prognostic breast cancer genetic signature and a factor essential to drive metastasis (PNAS 2013). Peeper’s team also discovered that pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase (PDK1) acts as a critical switch for the execution of OIS and serves as an attractive drug target in melanoma (Nature 2013). More recently, the lab demonstrated the power of in vivo shRNA dropout screens for drug target identification (Cell Rep 2014). Furthermore, they discovered a new mechanism mediating broad resistance to targeted therapy in melanoma (Nature Commun 2014).


Oscar Krijgsman



Oscar Krijgsman (PhD)

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postdoctoral fellow







After internships at the DKFZ (Heidelberg, Germany) and the VUmc (Amsterdam) I completed my Masters in Bioinformatics at the VU university in Amsterdam. Following my masters I started as a bioinformatician in R&D at the NKI spinoff Agendia (Amsterdam). In 2009 I started my PhD in the groups of Bauke Ylstra and Gerrit Meijer (VUmc-CCA). I defended my thesis entitled ‘Detection and relevance of focal chromosomal copy number aberrations in cancer’ in 2015. In September 2013 I joined the Peeper group, where I study drug-resistance and combination therapies for personalized medicine in cancer.

Oscar's articles on pubmed


Xiangjun Kong



Xiangjun Kong (PhD)

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postdoctoral fellow







I received my PhD from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) in Hefei in 2012. During my PhD I worked in the lab of Tao Zhu where I studied microRNAs and autocrine growth factors in tumorigenesis. Since 2013, I joined Daniel Peeper's group as a postdoc where I am investigating the mechanism of melanoma drug resistance by shRNA screens using a patient-derived xenograft (PDX) platform.

Xiangjun's articles on pubmed


Thomas Kuilman



Thomas Kuilman (PhD)

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postdoctoral fellow







After completing my studies Chemistry at the VU University Amsterdam, I joined Daniel Peeper's group in 2003 for my PhD. I studied the contribution of secreted factors to oncogene-induced cellular senescence (OIS). After defending my thesis in 2009 with honor (cum laude), I moved to the London Research Institute in the United Kingdom to study the link between phosphatase activity and the cell cycle as an KWF-fellow. Early 2014, I returned to Daniel Peeper's group, where I am now combining both bioinformatic and biological approaches to understand cancer drug responses.

Thomas' articles on pubmed


Maarten Ligtenberg



Maarten Ligtenberg (PhD)

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postdoctoral fellow







Maarten Ligtenberg completed his MSc in Medical Biotechnology at Wageningen University in 2010. After completing an internship at the Karolinska Institutet, he was asked to join the lab of Rolf Kiessling to continue his work focused on pioneering advances in the field of tumor immunotherapy. Together they worked on developing novel DNA vaccine strategies and enhancing adoptive CAR-T therapies. In 2015, Maarten defended his thesis entitled “Strengthening the pillars of cancer immunotherapy”. In October 2015 he joined the Peeper lab, where he is now responsible for identifying novel targets to combine with established immunotherapies using functional genetic screens.

Maarten's articles on pubmed


Pierre Levy



Pierre Levy (PhD)

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postdoctoral fellow







Tushar Tomar



Tushar Tomar (PhD)

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postdoctoral fellow







Xinyao Huang



Xinyao Huang (MSc)

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graduate student







Xinyao Huang obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Applied Sciences with a major in Biochemistry at the Hogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegen, The Netherlands. She subsequently followed the Oncology program in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Amsterdam. After rotations in Rene Bernards’ group at the NKI and Yang Shi’s lab at the Harvard Medical School, she joined the Peeper lab as a PhD student in 2013.

Xinyao's articles on pubmed


Juliana Kenski



Juliana Kenski (MSc)

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graduate student







Juliana Kenski received her Full Licentiate degree and Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences at Federal University of Paraná, Brazil, in 2010. In 2011 she started her Master’s in Biochemistry with a Master program fellowship granted by the National Counsel of Technological and Scientific Development (Brazil). In her master’s, she focused mainly matrix remodeling and anti-tumor action of statins in glioblastoma. In 2014, she joined Prof. Daniel Peeper’s lab as a PhD student with a grant from Science Without Borders Program (Brazil) to work with melanoma immunotherapy and genetic screens.

Juliana's articles on pubmed


Julia Boshuizen



Julia Boshuizen (MSc)

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graduate student







In 2014 I obtained my medical degree, followed by the Research Master Molecular Medicine in 2015 (both Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands). During my studies I performed internships at the labs of professor Alan Ashworth, Institute of Cancer Research London, where I worked on PARP inhibitors in breast cancer, and professor Martin McMahon, University of California, San Francisco, where I worked on negative feedback regulation in BRAFV600E-inducible mouse models. I joined the Peeper lab in 2015 as a PhD student to work on the role of AXL and other receptor tyrosine kinases in melanoma.

Julia's articles on pubmed


David Vredevoogd



David Vredevoogd (MSc)

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graduate student







Having obtained my bachelor’s degree in Psychobiology, I started a master in Biomedical Sciences with a specific focus on immunology at the University of Amsterdam in 2013. During my studies I enrolled in two internships, one in the lab of prof. Marieke van Ham regarding regulatory B cells and another, in the lab of prof. Ton Schumacher, on the mechanisms by which a resident memory T cell population is established. After graduating with honors (cum laude) in 2015, I started my PhD in the lab Daniel Peeper. In his lab, I now focus on identifying new targets for immunotherapy in melanoma by using functional genetic screens.

David's articles on pubmed


Georgi Apriamashvili



Georgi Apriamashvili (MSc)

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graduate student







Nils Visser



Nils Visser (BSc)

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technical staff/lab manager







In 2006 Nils received his Bachelors degree at the university of Applied Sciences in Leiden, the Netherlands, specialising in animal experimentation. From 2006-2008 he worked as research technician in the lab of Prof. Dr. Peter ten Dijke at the department of Molecular Cell Biology, Leiden University Medical Center. Here he was mainly involved in studying the function of mutated ALK2 in the development of the bone disease Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva and investigating the role of the TGF-β signal transduction pathway in epithelial-to-mesenchymal-transition and the development and progression of breast cancer. From 2008-2011 Nils came to the Netherlands Cancer Institute and worked as a research technician in the group of Dr. Fiona Stewart. He worked on discovering mechanistic insights in radiation-induced heart disease, focusing on animal models to explain initiation and identifying possible targets for prevention. During this period he developed an additional specialism in the application of non-invasive imaging techniques in mice, particularly through close collaboration with the group of Dr. Fijs van Leeuwen. 2011-present Nils joined the Peeper Lab as research technician and since 2012 also holds the position of laboratory manager of the division of Molecular Oncology.

Nils' articles on pubmed





Former lab members


Kristel Kemper (PhD) currently researcher at Genmab, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Aida Shahrabi (MSc) currently technician at VUmc, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Paulien Cornelissen-Steijger (BSc) currently technician at VUmc, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Sedef Iskit (MSc) currently medical writer at The Clever Fox Scientific Communications and Consultancy, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Joanna Kaplon (PhD) currently Clinical Chemistry Resident at AMC, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Christelle Lenain (PhD) currently Scientific and Medical Expert at Galderma R&D, Nice, France
Celia Vogel (PhD) currently Project Manager at Targos Molecular Pathology, Kassel, Germany
Sirith Douma (MSc) currently working at the tumor registration department of the NKI, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Renée van Amerongen (PhD) currently tenure track assistant professor at the Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS), University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Marjon Smit (PhD) currently postdoctoral fellow at the VU university Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Mirjam Epping (PhD) currently studying medicine, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands
Katrin Meissl (PhD) currently postdoctal fellow at the Institute of Animal Breeding and Genetics, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Austria
Tristan Gallenne (PhD) currently working at Mercus B.V. Utrecht, The Netherlands
Kylie Greig (PhD) currently postdoctoral fellow at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Melbourne, Australia
Gireesh Anirudhan (PhD) currently assistant professor in Visva-Bharati Central University, Santiniketan, West Bengal, India
Liesbeth CW Vredeveld (PhD) currently working as a biology teacher, Lelystad, The Netherlands
Naoki Uno (MD-PhD) currently a researcher at the Nagasaki University, Nagasaki, Japan
Cornelia Hömig-Hölzel (PhD) currently cluster manager at ImmunoSensation Cluster of Excellence, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany
Chrysiis Michaloglou (PhD) currently a presidential postdoctoral fellow at the Oncology department of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Science in Basel, Switzerland
Thomas R Geiger (PhD) currently cancer biologist managing translational research projects for lung cancer at the European Thoracic Oncology Platform / International Breast Cancer Study Group, Basel, Switzerland
Aranzazu Rosado-Diez (BSc) currently technician in Guillaume Fillion's lab at the Centre for Genomic Regulation, Barcelona, Spain
Jamila Laoukili (PhD) currently senior postdoctoral fellow in Onno Kranenburg's lab at the University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Christope J. Desmet (PhD) currently postdoctoral researcher in Fabrice Bureau's lab at the GIGA-Research Institute, University of Liège, Belgium
Alexandre Prieur (PhD) currently scientific director at EuroBioDev, Montpellier, France.
Remco van Doorn (MD-PhD) currently chef de clinique, supervisor of the pigmented lesion clinic, and researcher at the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), Leiden, The Netherlands
Benjamin Rowland (PhD) currently principal investigator at the NKI, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Cristina Pantoja (PhD) currently staff scientist at Manuel Serrano's lab at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas, Spain.
Cristina Martinez-Munoz (PhD) currently senior postdoctoral fellow in Cornelis Jakobs' lab at VU University Medical Center, The Netherlands
Theo van Laar (PhD) currently molecular biology technician at TU Delft, Delft, The Netherlands