Professor Emeritus Ophthalmology, in particular eye melanoma
Martine J. Jager is professor of Ophthalmology, with a focus on ocular melanoma. She is vice-chairman of the MD examination committee at the Leiden University Medical Center. She holds a guest professorship at the Peking University Health Science Center, China and Adjunct Scientist at the Schepens Eye Research Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston. She is President of the International Society of Ocular Oncology, past-president of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, member of the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis and the European Academy of Ophthalmology. She is a member of The Cancer Genome Atlas project for eye melanoma and the American Joint Committee on Cancer.
Martine J. Jager is professor of Ophthalmology, with a focus on ocular melanoma. She is vice-chairman of the MD examination committee at the Leiden University Medical Center. She holds a guest professorship at the Peking University Health Science Center, China and Adjunct Scientist at the Schepens Eye Research Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston. She is President of the International Society of Ocular Oncology, past-president of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, member of the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis and the European Academy of Ophthalmology.
She is a member of The Cancer Genome Atlas project for eye melanoma and the American Joint Committee on Cancer.
The focus of research is on eye melanoma. Uveal melanoma is the most common intraocular primary malignancy in adults. This research area is part of the Oncology profile (Cancer Pathogenesis and Therapy) of the LUMC, and fits well into the National Science agenda.
While primary ocular melanoma can often be treated effectively, it often gives rise to metastases, for which no effective treatment is as yet available. Jager focusses on the regulation of immune responses towards this malignancy, with the goal of developing a treatment. As opposed to cutaneous melanoma, an inflammatory phenotype in uveal melanoma is related to an infaust prognosis. An inflammatory phenotype contains T cells and macrophages, the majority of which belong to the pro-angiogenic M2 type. The density of macrophages is correlated with the number of blood vessels. Recent studies show that the development of inflammation is genetically determined. Addition of a copy of chromosome 8q is related to the influx of macrophages, while the subsequent loss of one chromosome 3 and loss of expression of the BAP1 protein (the BAP1 gene is located on chromosome 3) lead to influx of T cells. Current studies focus on techniques to modify HLA expression and to influence T cell responses in such a way that immunotherapy of metastases becomes a reality for these patients.
Martine J. Jager received her MD and PhD degree from Leiden University. The title of her thesis (1986, promotor prof. dr. J.J. van Rood) was: 'Human Monocyte antigens: recognition of a polymorphic system'. She subsequently specialized in Ophthalmology at the University of Amsterdam, and did a fellowship in Cornea and Ocular Surface Diseases at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami. She also followed a research fellowship in ocular immunology in Miami with Dr J.W. Streilein, following which she returned to Leiden with a fellowship from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. She subsequently set up a laboratory at the Department of Ophthalmology in Leiden to study the immunology of ocular tumors and corneal transplantation. She was appointed professor at Leiden University in 2016, with her oration 'Travels in the world of the eye'.
Prof. Jager works as an ophthalmologist at the LUMC, and is a specialist in cornea and ocular surface diseases.
Prof. Jager’s research focusses on the role of the immune system in the development of ocular tumors and in the treatment of metastases, and also on the development of an artificial cornea. She has published over 200 papers and several books. She has supervised 20 successful PhD students and currently supervises 12 PhD students. She helps students from Leiden to work abroad and foreign students to come to Leiden.
Jager is Associate Editor of Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, member of the Editorial Board van Ophthalmology, Acta Ophthalmologica, The Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, Ocular Oncology and Pathology, The Asia-Pacific Journal of Ophthalmology, and the Chinese Journal of Experimental Ophthalmology.
She is a member of the Chapter Council of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, president van ARVO-NED, member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology Global Advisors Committee, and Convener of the Submitted program of the World Congress of Ophthalmology (2016 and 2018).
Much of the research in Leiden takes place in collaboration with dr. P.A. van der Velden, dr. A.G. Jochemsen, prof. E. Snaar-Jagalska, and the oncology team at the department of Ophthalmology (prof. dr. G.P.M. Luyten, dr. M. Marinkovic, dr. J. Bleeker) and the department of Oncology (prof. dr. S. van der Burg, dr. E. Kapiteijn).
Collaborations exist with the members of two Horizon2020 grants. Horizon2020 grant CURE UM is focused on the development of a treatment for uveal melanoma metastases; collaborations exist with Jagellonian University, Krakow, Poland, The Curie Institute, Paris, France, Univ of Liverpool and Manchester, UK, Univ of Turin, Italy, and the Champalimaud Center of the Unknown, Lissabon, Portugal.
The COST grant Joining Forces on Corneal Regeneration is focused on achieving more collaborations on corneal regenerative medicine in Europe to help to treat corneal diseases.
Horizon2020 grant Arrest Blindness is focused on developing regenerative therapies for corneal diseases that lead to blindness. Among the collaborators are the Univ of Linkoping, Univ of Koln, Aarhus Univ, Univ Miguel Hernandez de Elche, Univ of Antwerp, the NIIOS in Rotterdam and Aeon Astron in Leiden.
The research of the Department is being supported by many Dutch filantropic organisations, such as the KWF, ANNVB, Stichting Blindenhulp, Rotterdamse Stichting voor Blindenbelangen, Stichting Blinden Penning, LSBS, Wealtheon and The Bontius Stichting.
Prizes and honourable appointments
Jager is Honorary member of the Hungarian Society of Ophthalmology and the Polish Society of Ophthalmology, visiting professor at Harvard Medical School (2016), and Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland (2017). She is Congress Ambassador for Leiden. In 1995, she won the Marie Parijs Prijs of the Universiteit van Leiden. The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology awarded her the Distinguished Service Award, the ARVO Gold Fellow Award, and the ARVO Joanne G. Angle Special Achievement Award. In 2018, she hopes to be Guest of Honour at the Champalimaud Center of the Unknown in Lissabon.
- adjunct scientist