Speakers of 2018

Ton Schumacher

Netherlands Cancer Institute, Principal Investigator

Ton Schumacher is Principal Investigator at The Netherlands Cancer Institute, and Professor of Immunotechnology at Leiden University. Research of his lab focuses on the development of novel technologies with which T cell responses can be measured or manipulated, and the subsequent use of these technologies to understand how T cells can recognize and destroy human cancer. Work over the past years has described the role of the ‘cancer neo-antigens’ that are formed as a consequence of DNA damage as a major ingredient to effective immunotherapy of human cancer.

Schumacher is recipient of, amongst others, the Amsterdam Inventor Award (2010), Queen Wilhelmina Cancer Research Award (2014), San Salvatore Award (2014), Meyenburg Cancer Research Award (2015), and William B. Coley Award (2016). Schumacher is also co-founder of 3 biotechs that focus on the development of novel cancer immunotherapeutics.


Jim Heath

California Institute of Technology, Professor

Jim Heath is the Elizabeth Gilloon Professor and Professor of Chemistry at Caltech, and co-leads the Cancer Nanotechnology Program within the JCCC.  He has directed the National Cancer Institute funded NSB Cancer Center since 2005, which is a NCI-funded CancerCenter for Nanotechnology Excellence that is a joint Caltech/UCLA program focused on translating new therapeutic and diagnostic technologies from benchtop to bedside.  Heath also co-Directs the UCLA Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. He received his Ph.D. from Rice University.  He was a member of the research staff at IBM Watson Labs before joining the faculty at UCLA in 1994, and then moving to Caltech in 2003.  Heath’s group works on the development and application of single cell and molecular methods for fundamental cancer biology and translational oncology applications.


Rob de Boer

University of Utrecht, Professor

Rob de Boer is head of the Theoretical Biology group and an expert in Computational Biology. The primary goal of this group is to use and develop formal approaches to better understand the functioning and evolution of complex biological systems. The focus of De Boer in the Theoretical Biology group is Quantitative Immunology. After his post-doc at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, he joined the Theoretical Biology & Bioinformatics group at Utrecht University (The Netherlands) in 1992, running an independent research group on modeling the immune system. He received the Dutch Innovative research VICI grant in 2004, and became Full Professor in Theoretical Immunology. De Boer was promoted to Full Professor in Theoretical Biology at Utrecht University in 2009.

The focus of the De Boer group on modeling and bioinformatics helps to interpret experimental data in a quantitative manner, and to suggest novel experiments allowing for more conclusive insights. Several examples are dynamics of lymphocytes, responses to viruses and the killing rates of cytotoxic T cells.