Louis Vermeulen, MD PhD, is leader of the theme ‘Tumor Biology’ of the Cancer Center Amsterdam. He is a group leader/principal investigator within the Center for Experimental Molecular Medicine (CEMM), Laboratory for Experimental Oncology and Radiobiology (LEXOR) at the Academic Medical Center (AMC), Amsterdam. Louis Vermeulen studied medicine and obtained his PhD at the AMC and worked as a research fellow at the University of Cambridge, UK. His group uses quantitative approaches in combination with state of the art in vitro and in vivo models to study the biology of intestinal cancers in order to improve tumor classification and therapies.
In particular his research focuses on:
1. Stem cell dynamics in developing and established cancers
Stem cells are essential for the homeostasis of most adult human tissues. Previously we identified stem-like cells that fuel the growth and progression of cancers. We elucidated how oncogenic mutations alter the population dynamics during tumorigenesis. In addition we defined microenvironmental factors that regulate stem cell function in cancers. We have now developed marker free tracing approaches to study the functional behavior of stem-like cells in both pre-neoplastic lesions and human cancer tissue. We use these tools to improve chemo-preventive strategies and to develop novel, and more effective therapies.
2. Molecular cancer subtypes
Colorectal cancer is a highly heterogeneous disease. Intriguingly, the genetic features of cancers only explain part of this. Recently we have developed gene expression based classifications that identify colorectal cancer subtypes with radically different molecular features and clinical properties, including their response to commonly used targeted agents. We now develop improved and clinically applicable classification assays, aim to elucidate the molecular drivers of the unique properties of each subtype, and evaluate subtype-specific therapeutic interventions.
Louis Vermeulen is supported by several personal grants, including an ERC starting grant, a VIDI grant from the Dutch Science Organization (NWO/ZonMw), and a career development grant of the Dutch Digestive Foundation (MLDS).