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René Bernards group
René Bernards received his Ph.D. in 1984 from the University of
Leiden. He joined the laboratory of Robert Weinberg at the
Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, USA for his postdoctoral
training, were he worked with Stephen Friend on the isolation of
the retinoblastoma tumor suppressor gene. He was appointed
assistant professor at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer
Center in 1988. In 1992 he joined the Netherlands Cancer Institute.
In 1994 he was appointed part time professor of molecular
carcinogenesis at Utrecht University, The Netherlands.
His scientific accomplishments include the development of
MammaPrint, the first clinically-used gene expression profile for
breast cancer. To bring this discovery to the clinic he co-founded
"Agendia", a genomics-based diagnostic company that started
offering the first microarray-based diagnostic test for the
clinical management of breast cancer in 2004. His laboratory also
developed the first shRNA vector for gene silencing in mammalian
cells and used this vector to create a genome-scale library of
shRNA vectors. His laboratory has used this vector collection to
identify biomarkers of response to cancer drugs and to identify
particularly powerful drug combinations for the treatment of
cancer. Some of the combination therapies suggested by these
genetic screens are currently showing promise in the clinic.
He received several awards for his research, including the
Pezcoller Foundation-FECS Recognition for Contribution to Oncology,
the Ernst W. Bertner Award for Cancer Research from the M.D.
Anderson Cancer Center, the ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award in
Translational Research in Breast Cancer, the Spinoza award from the
Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research and the Queen
Wilhelmina Research Prize from the Dutch Cancer Society. He is also
a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.