Daniela Thommen

Group leader

+31 20 512 7950 d.thommen@nki.nl

Early in my medical studies I have developed a keen interest not only in the clinical aspects of medicine but also in the molecular mechanisms behind disease. My scientific motivation has been particularly driven by my medical background to combine basic and clinical science in order to develop better therapies for patients. Supported by a MD-PhD fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation, I completed my PhD in T cell immunology at the University of Basel, Switzerland (lab of Prof. Barbara Biedermann) in 2010.

I then trained in internal medicine and medical oncology in Switzerland, receiving the Swiss and European Board certification in Medical Oncology in 2015. In parallel to my clinical specialization as oncologist, I worked as a research fellow in the lab of Prof. Alfred Zippelius at the Department Biomedicine in Basel, supported by several research grants (Research funds University of Basel, Lichtenstein-Stiftung, Hemmi-Stiftung, Sassella-Stiftung). My research focused on the role of intratumoral T cell heterogeneity for response to immune checkpoint blockade in human lung cancer.

In 2016, I joined the lab of Prof. Ton Schumacher at the Netherlands Cancer Institute with a postdoctoral fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation. Here, I continued my work on understanding the heterogeneity in intratumoral immune activity and developed human tumor explant models to study patient-specific immunotherapy responses ex vivo. In 2019, I received the Swiss Pfizer Research Prize in Oncology for my work on the role of distinct dysfunctional T cell subsets on immunotherapy response in human lung cancer.

After receiving a KWF Young Investigator grant/Bas Mulder award in 2018, I started my independent research lab at the Netherlands Cancer Institute as junior group leader (assistant professor level) in April 2020. Together with Christian Blank and Daniel Peeper, I recently received a Melanoma Research Alliance Team Science Award, which we will use for the development of personalized neoadjuvant immunotherapy in melanoma.

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