My research aim is to understand the immunobiology of T-cell responses and to use this knowledge for the development and improvement of immunotherapeutic strategies to promote eradication of cancerous cells and pathogens. During my PhD and post-doc I was involved in challenging projects that led to advanced training and knowledge in cellular immunology, molecular biology and in vivo models. Studies at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology (USA) (2006-2010) and thanks to a VENI grant and a Marie Curie individual fellowship allowed me to initiate my own research line focusing on the role of T-cell programming and costimulation and this line of research was continued at the LUMC (2010-present). Within the infrastructure of the department of Immunohematology and Blood Transfusion and funded by the Gisela Thier Foundation, I established a new research line in which T-cell based immunotherapy is the central theme. The endeavor has generated new insights into vaccine-mediated T-cell responses, T-cell programming involving costimulation and chemo-immunotherapy. The lab is currently funded by grants from the Dutch Cancer Society (KWF), The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), and the European Commission.
I studied Medical Biology at the University of Amsterdam, and started my PhD training in 1998 with Prof. Dr. R.A.W. van Lier and Prof. Dr. M.H.J. van Oers at the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam. In 2003 I defended my thesis entitled “ Balancing effector T cell formation via CD27-CD70 interactions
Current and previous positions:
2016-present Associate Professor, Dept. of Immunology, LUMC, Leiden
2010-2016 Assistant Professor, Dept. of IHB, LUMC, Leiden
2006-2010 Scientist, La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology, San Diego, USA
2007-2012 Senior-Postdoc, Immunology, Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam
International activities (selected):
2019-present Chairman of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) expert panel Microbiology and Immunology
2017-present Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Oxford, UK
2017 Organizing Committee Member of the 16th International CMV/betaherpesvirus workshop/6th International CMV conference, Netherlands.
2017-present Associate Editor at Human Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics.
2016-present Associate Editor at Frontiers in Immunology.
Project and applicant reviewer for ERC (Advanced) Grants, the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO, Belgium), The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), the Dutch Arthritis Foundation, The Dutch Cancer Society, The Wellcome Trust.
Reviewer for international journals including Cancer Immunology Research, Cancer Immunology Immunotherapy, Clinical Cancer Research, European Journal of Immunology, Frontiers in Immunology, Journal for Immunotherapy of Cancer, Nature Immunology, PLOS Pathogens, Journal of Immunology, Science Translational Medicine.
A third vaccination with a single T cell epitope confers protection in a murine model of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Pardieck IN, van der Sluis TC, van der Gracht ET, Veerkamp DM, Behr FM, van Duikeren S, Beyrend G, Rip J, Nadafi R, Beyranvand Nejad E, Mülling N, ....Arens, R.
Nat Commun. 2022; 13(1):3966
Memory CD8+ T cell heterogeneity is primarily driven by pathogen-specific cues and additionally shaped by the tissue environment.
van der Gracht ET, Beyrend G, Abdelaal T, Pardieck IN, Wesselink TH, van Haften FJ, van Duikeren S, Koning F, Arens R.
iScience. 2021; 24(1): 101954.
Adenoviral vaccines promote protective tissue-resident memory T cell populations against cancer.
van der Gracht ET, Schoonderwoerd MJ, van Duikeren S, Yilmaz AN, Behr FM, Colston JM, Lee LN, Yagita H, van Gisbergen KP, Hawinkels LJ, Koning F, Klenerman P, Arens R.
J Immunother Cancer. 2020; 8(2):e001133.