After finishing my master’s in biomedicine, I was looking for a translational PhD project in which I could combine my passion for immunology and oncology. I applied to the Voest lab because they have a lot of expertise in this research area and on top of that a large biobank with patient derived tumor organoids, which facilitates the use of patient samples for functional assays.
I joined the Voest group in October and so far, it’s been really nice! At the end of my first month, I was lucky to get the opportunity to join the science retreat. A perfect moment to learn more about everyone’s research projects and to bond with the whole team. The group has a unique combination of computational, clinical, and fundamental researchers which allows you to learn from multiple disciplines and set up collaborative research projects easily. So, I am excited to see what the future will hold!
After graduating as a medical doctor from Utrecht University, I joined the Voest group as a clinical PhD student in September. My main project is coordinating the Drug-Rediscovery Protocol (DRUP). This is a nationwide trial in which patients are treated with approved targeted or immunotherapy, matched to their molecular tumor profile, but outside their registered indication. Hereby we aim to facilitate patients’ access to potentially effective treatments, whilst simultaneously creating a platform in which targeted drugs and accompanying biomarkers can be tested across various tumor types. Precision medicine is the future of oncology and I think innovative trial designs like DRUP are needed to realize this promising paradigm. Therefore, I am very happy to be able to contribute to this study and the impact we can hopefully make in cancer patients’ lives.
My first months in the Voest group have been both good and overwhelming. As the group is composed of bioinformaticians, wet lab researchers and clinicians – and both PhD students and postdoctoral fellows – there is a vast amount of expertise to learn from. Yet, everybody has been very welcoming and the vibe in the group is relaxed and supportive. A highlight has been the science retreat we went on during my second month, which allowed me to connect with everyone on a more personal level!