I am a professional researcher and supervisor, currently working as a postdoc at the laboratory of Pediatric Immunology at the KU Leuven (Belgium). In preclinical work, our group focuses mainly on improving dendritic cell mediated immunotherapy for high grade glioma. Thereto, our study interests include (manipulation of) the local tumor microenvironment, optimization of tumor vaccine preparation, and combinatorial treatment approaches. We work in close collaboration with the group of clinical immunology, resulting in a broad expertise in the immunology field.
I defended my PhD in December 2014. My research focused on the use of oncolytic viruses (Newcastle disease virus) as a novel standalone immunotherapy for high grade gliomas, and as a platform for subsequent dendritic cell-mediated immunotherapy. During the last four years I have successfully established this new pipeline within our research group and my work has translated into peer-reviewed publications, patent application, and the expansion of this research team to 3 full-time employed scientists. I have experience with many immunological assays, both in vitro as in vivo (mouse) models. Additionally, I have great experience in experimental design, result analyses, critical thinking, supervising and teaching junior team members, and interacting with academically-based and professional thought leaders. I am persistent, independent and hard-working. I am flexible and enjoy a high degree of variety in my work tasks.
I have found my strength and passion to lie in science communication and have won several awards for my presentation and storytelling skills. That is why I want to move into the private sector now. I am looking for a job that will enable me to put my best skills to work in combining scientific insight and knowledge with a knack for communication.
I happily live at the edge of Leuven's city center, where I enjoy both the peaceful countryside as well as the buzzing city life.
Postdoctoral ResearcherLeuven, Belgium
Since December 2014
My research focuses on the use of oncolytic viruses (i.e. Newcastle disease virus) in the treatment of high-grade glioma and diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. This novel approach for cancer therapy is investigated as a standalone therapeutic strategy, as well as a possible platform for improving the benefit of subsequent dendritic cell mediated immunotherapy. I have worked on in vitro experiments as well as in vivo (mouse) models for these tumors. Technical know-how includes flow cytometry, ELISPOT, cell culture, dendritic cell vaccine preparation and administration, stereotactic surgery in mice, small animal MRI, and immune cell isolations. Research topics include tumor immunology, immunogenic cell death, dendritic cell mediated immunotherapy, immune specificity and memory. I’ve presented and discussed my work at numerous international meetings (on the topics of neuro oncology, replicating oncolytic virus therapeutics, high-grade glioma immunotherapy, neurosurgery, and tumor immunology). Additionally, I have supervised interns and graduate students, and have collaborated with several international partners on a multitude of projects. Collaborations also included teaching and training in technical skills.
Master of Science (MSc) in Major: Research. Minor: Management and Communication in Biomedical Sciences from Biomedical Sciences - KU Leuven in 2010