My laboratory studies colon cancer from a heterogeneity point of view considering both the intra tumor heterogeneity that is defined by a CSC hierarchy as well as by clonal evolution and inter-tumor heterogeneity, which is defined by distinct subtypes as well as mutation profiles.
We aim to understand not just the clinical implications, but more importantly the underlying biology that defines this heterogeneity in order to develop novel insight that could lead to therapy optimization. My laboratory is at the fore-front of CRC heterogeneity and specifically on how this affects cell death responses. Importantly, my lab is positioned centrally within several clinical departments (Surgery, Med Oncology, Pathology, Gastroenterology and Radiotherapy) and houses multiple clinical PhD students and projects from these departments. This translational collaboration allows us one hand to perform these biological pre-clinical studies on primary tumor material and to build pre-clinical models based on this patient material, but on the other hand also to couple our findings directly to clinical material and to serve as a starting point for clinical studies.
I therefore believe that my unique contribution to cancer research is the linkage of fundamental insight into CRC heterogeneity and therapy response with clinical reality and therapeutic modalities.