Neefjes has been trained as a chemist and entered the fields of cell biology and immunology during his PhD and post-doc. He has combined these fields since. Jacques Neefjes has made many seminal contributions to the fields of immunology, infection diseases, cell biology and chemical biology. His research has centered around the cell biology of MHC class I and MHC class II associated antigen presentation. These pathways are critical in tumorimmunotherapy. Neefjes has unraveled many steps in these pathways including the definition of DRiPs, the definition of the MIIC, the molecular control of vesicle transport by motor proteins, the control of lysosomal transport by the ER and cholesterol and many other issues central in cell biology. Collectively, his work has uncovered many steps in the cell biology of antigen presentation by MHC class I and MHC class II molecules. His activities in the area of chemical immunology has yielded new antibiotic targets and lead structures that support the host in bacterial clearance. This novel concept was the basis of his latest findings showing how Salmonella infections cause cancer and how food poisoning by Salmonella increases the risk for colon cancer in a Nation-wide epidemiological study. The epidemiological and cell biological link between infections by Salmonella and cancer induction will have broad implication in understanding as well as preventing cancer.
As chairman of the Gravity program Chemical Immunology, Neefjes continued working on anthracyclines by combining chemistry with genetics and bioinformatics. This has yielded new discoveries on the action of an old drug. Neefjes has subsequently used this to synthesize away the cardiotoxic effects of these drugs without loss in anti-cancer activity and is now in the process of preparing the production of one variant drug at clinical grade for testing on patients.
- 2016: 2nd ERC Advanced Grant
- 2015: an Loghem Lecture, the annual career award for research in Immunology from the Dutch Immunology Society NVVI
- 2015: Elected member of the Dutch Royal Society of Sciences and Arts (KNAW)
- 2015: Elected member and Dutch representative in the EU COST Scientific Committee
- 2014: Elected member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (Det Norske Videnskaps-Akademi)
- 2013: Recipient and main applicant Gravity Program Institute for Chemical Immunology ICI
- 2013: Elected member Academia Europaea
- 2010: Elected member European Academy of Cancer Sciences
- 2009: ERC Advanced Grant
- 2007: Elected member EMBO
- 1996: Pioneer Grant
- 1996: Golden Medal of the Royal Dutch Chemical Society (KNCV)
- 1990: Antoni van Leeuwenhoek award
- Jongsma, M. L., Berlin, I., Wijdeven, R. H., Janssen, L., Janssen, G. M., Garstka, M. A., ... & Neefjes, J. (2016). An ER-associated pathway defines endosomal architecture for controlled cargo transport. Cell, 166(1), 152-166.
- Kuijl, C., Savage, N. D., Marsman, M., Tuin, A. W., Janssen, L., Egan, D. A., ... & Poot, A. (2007). Intracellular bacterial growth is controlled by a kinase network around PKB/AKT1. Nature, 450(7170), 725.
- Pang, B., Qiao, X., Janssen, L., Velds, A., Groothuis, T., Kerkhoven, R., ... & Janssen, J. (2013). Drug-induced histone eviction from open chromatin contributes to the chemotherapeutic effects of doxorubicin. Nature communications, 4, 1908.
- Paul, P., van den Hoorn, T., Jongsma, M. L., Bakker, M. J., Hengeveld, R., Janssen, L., ... & Ovaa, H. (2011). A Genome-wide multidimensional RNAi screen reveals pathways controlling MHC class II antigen presentation. Cell, 145(2), 268-283.
- Scanu, T., Spaapen, R. M., Bakker, J. M., Pratap, C. B., Wu, L. E., Hofland, I., ... & Song, J. Y. (2015). Salmonella manipulation of host signaling pathways provokes cellular transformation associated with gallbladder carcinoma. Cell host & microbe, 17(6), 763-774.