John Haanen

John Haanen

Group leader

+31 20 512 6979

After obtaining my bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, I studied Medicine at the University of Leiden and received my MD cum laude in 1988. Then I did my PhD in the lab of Prof. Rene de Vries and Prof. Jon van Rood at the Department of Immunohematology and Blood Bank of the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), the Netherlands.

During my PhD studies, I collaborated closely with Prof. Hergen Spits and I was the first to show that Th1 cells occur in humans (Mycobacterium-specific CD4+ T cells). That part of my PhD I did at DNAX, Research Institute, Palo Alto, CA at the time IL-10 was discovered and I participated in the early functional IL-10 studies. Following my thesis defense in 1991, I was trained in internal medicine.

After my certification as internist, I joined the NKI as a post-doctoral fellow (1997-1999) and worked together with Ada Kruisbeek and Ton Schumacher on preclinical tumor and viral immunology models. In 2001, I was offered a permanent position at the NKI-AVL. I started my own research group and worked on development of novel vaccination and cellular strategies for the treatment of cancer, all of which were translated to clinical trials.

In 2008, I was appointed professor of translational immunotherapy of cancer at LUMC. In 2009, I became Head of the Division of Medical Oncology at NKI, until July 2018. Since then I fulfill the position of Leader of the research theme Immunotherapy.

Outside of NKI and LUMC, I have been chair of the Working Party Immunotherapy for Oncology from 2008 – 2016. Within ESMO, I fulfilled the position of scientific chair of the ESMO IO meeting from 2016-2019, was scientific chair of the ESMO 2020 annual meeting, and I am Editor-in-Chief of ESMO Journal IOTECH, starting in 2018.

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