Karin de Visser
Professor by special appointment Tumor Immunology
- Prof.dr. K.E. de Visser
Karin de Visser is professor in Experimental Immunobiology of Cancer (specifically of the tumor microenvironment) at Leiden University and affiliated with the department Immunohematology and Blood transfusion at Leiden University Medical Center. She is also senior group leader at the Division of Tumor Biology & Immunology at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam and group leader at Oncode Institute. She is member of the Research Management Committee of Oncode Institute, and member of the scientific advisory board of the Dutch Cancer Society, she is an EMBO Young Investigator, and she is recipient of the 2015 Metastasis Research Price of the Beug Foundation for Metastasis Research, VIDI and VICI grants of NOW, and an ERC consolidator grant.
The main focus of this professorship is to contribute to the basic and translational scientific research field of tumor immunology. The overall goal is to understand by which mechanisms the immune system influences breast cancer metastasis and response to conventional anti-cancer therapies, and how the genetic makeup of breast cancer shapes immune composition and function in tumors. Through mechanistic understanding of the crosstalk between the immune system and cancer cells, the aim is to contribute to the design of novel immunomodulatory strategies to fight metastatic breast cancer and to increase the efficacy of anti-cancer therapy response.
Besides fundamental research utilizing transgenic mouse tumor models, Karin de Visser is also involved in translational research focused on the immunomonitoring of breast cancer patients that are being treated with immunotherapy. This is performed in close collaboration with medical oncologist Marleen Kok at the AVL.
With this professorship, the interaction between the LUMC and the NKI will be strengthened.
Karin de Visser is also actively involved in teaching at Leiden University, and she supervises master students from Leiden in her lab at the NKI.
Karin de Visser obtained her Master Biomedical Sciences at Leiden University in 1998 (cum laude). She performed her PhD research at the Division of Immunology at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam in the field of tumor immunotherapy, under supervision of Prof. dr. Ada Kruisbeek. She obtained her PhD degree from the Free University Amsterdam on October 30th, 2002 (title thesis: “The impact of self-antigen expression on the CD8+ T cell repertoire; implications for anti-tumor immunity”). From 2003-2005 she worked as a postdoctoral fellow of the Dutch Cancer Society in the lab of Prof. dr. Lisa Coussens in the Cancer Research Institute at the University of California, San Francisco (USCF), where she identified a novel promoting role for B lymphocytes during inflammation-associated skin carcinogenesis. In 2005 she joined the laboratory of Prof. Dr. Jos Jonkers at the Division of Molecular Biology at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, where she expanded her research direction into the field of inflammation and mammary carcinogenesis, using conditional mouse models.
Currently she is senior group leader at the Division of Tumor Biology & Immunology at the Netherlands Cancer Institute. The overall goal of her research is to understand by which mechanisms the immune system influences breast cancer metastasis and response to conventional anti-cancer therapies. Through mechanistic understanding of the crosstalk between the immune system and cancer cells she aims to contribute to the design of novel immunomodulatory strategies to fight metastatic breast cancer and to increase the efficacy of anti-cancer therapy response. Her lab discovered how mammary tumors induce a systemic inflammatory response to facilitate metastasis formation. Karin received a prestigious ERC consolidator grant in 2014, she is recipient of the 2015 Metastasis Research Prize of the Beug Foundation, in 2016 she was selected as a member of the EMBO young investigator program, in 2017 she was invited to join Oncode Institute and in 2019 she was awarded a VICI grant from NWO. Since 2019, Karin is appointed as Professor Experimental Immunobiology of Cancer at Leiden University. Her inaugural speech will be held on November 15th, 2019.