The Netherlands Cancer Institute

Scientist in charge: Karin de Visser

Karin de VisserThroughout my career, I have focused on the intriguing and paradoxical role of the immune system in cancer and metastasis formation. Inspired by the first clinical successes of cancer immunotherapy, I decided to pursue my PhD training in the field of tumor immunology under supervision of Prof. Dr. Ada Kruisbeek at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam. During this early stage of my career, it became clear to me that the success of immunotherapy not only depends on our ability to stimulate the right immune cells, but also on the nature of the tumor and its microenvironment. I became fascinated by the tumor and its immune milieu, and decided to pursue my postdoctoral training with Prof. Dr. Lisa Coussens at the University of California, San Francisco, who had just published the first pioneering studies revealing pro-tumor functions of the inflammatory tumor microenvironment. I obtained a prestigious post-doctoral fellowship from the Dutch Cancer Society to fully support this postdoctoral training. In this lab, I found my passion for the ‘inflammation and cancer’ field. I published one of the first mechanistic reports regarding the pro-tumor functions of B lymphocytes in a mouse model of epithelial carcinogenesis (Cancer Cell. De Visser et al. 2005). An editorial Preview in the same journal and a Research Highlight in Nature Reviews Cancer accompanied our study. This publication changed how immunologists and tumor biologists think about the interplay between the adaptive immune system and tumors. In 2005 I joined the laboratory of Dr. Jos Jonkers at the Division of Molecular Biology at the NKI, where I expanded my research direction into the field of inflammation and breast cancer. My training in Jos Jonkers’ lab, in close collaboration with clinical oncologists Dr. Sabine Linn and Dr. Andre Bergman, provided me with critical skills and knowledge that were essential for me to establish my own independent research group in breast cancer research. In March 2012, my research group joined the Division of Immunology to strengthen the immunological aspects of our breast cancer research. In December 2012, I was awarded a prestigious tenure-track junior group leader position at the NKI. The main focus of my research group is to elucidate the role of the innate and adaptive immune system in breast cancer development, metastasis formation and therapy response.
Through collaborations with clinical oncologists, André Bergman and Jan Paul de Boer, she has access to human tumour tissues.





Other scientists in charge involved

André Bergman  Jan Paul de Boer

Andre Bergman

jan Paul de Boer








Appointed Researchers

Camilla Salvagno
Early Stage Researcher: Camilla Salvagno (Italy)
Appointed from 1 May 2013 till 1 May 2016




Bianca Cioni
Early Stage Researcher: Bianca Cioni (Italy)
Appointed from 1 October 2013 till 1 October 2016