Jacques Neefjes

Professor - Head Department Cell and Chemical Biology


I am studying the molecular and cell biology of antigen processing and presentation by MHC class I and MHC class II molecules. My team has solved many steps in our current understanding of the MHC class I and MHC class II cell biology. This work is broadly applied in modern immunotherapy approaches. I am now combining that with genetic and chemical screens to find new targets and new leads for manipulation. My work also formed the basis of a line of translational research where chemistry (drug screens) are tested on fresh tissue materials to predict new drugs active on individual patients. This has yielded new drug indications and new radiosensitizers. I have developed a number of unique lines of research with implications for cancer. These include the molecular basis for radio-immunotherapy and drug development for chemo-immunotherapy in cancer. Other lines of research include the relationship between bacterial infections and cancer. I showed the link between Salmonella Typhi infections and gallbladder carcinoma and most recently the link between another Salmonella serovar, Salmonella Enteritidis and colon cancer risk. MHC class II and CD1 molecules use the endosomal pathway to acquire antigens for presentation. This has inspired me to study the mechanisms of endosomal fusion and transport and the question how that affects MHC class II antigen presentation in normal cells and DCs under control and stimulated conditions. Such approaches may yield new clues for further manipulation of this complex process and MHC class II and CD1 antigen presentation.

Curriculum Vitae:

I absolved the study Chemistry at the Free University Amsterdam. I absolved my doctoral research at the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) in Amsterdam. The title of my doctoral thesis (November 1990, cum laude) reads ‘Cell Biological Aspect of MHC class I and II molecules’. My career later on was as follows:

Post Graduate Education and Training

1991 Post-doctoral research with prof dr HL Ploegh, Division of Cellular Biochemistry, the Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam

1991-1992 Visiting scientist at the laboratory of Drs C Benoit and D Mathis at the Institut de Chimie Biologique, Strassbourg

1992-1993 EMBO long-term fellowship. Laboratory of prof dr G Hämmerling at the Deutsche Krebs Forschungs Zentrum (DKFZ), Heidelberg

Academic Appointments  

1993-1997          Staff member, Division of Cellular Biochemistry, the Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam

1998 – 2008       Head Division of Tumor Biology, the Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam

1999 – 2014       Extraordinary professor at Leiden University, chair of “Antigen Presentation and Processing”

2000-2003          Dean Graduate School Oncology Amsterdam (OOA)

2007 – 2011       Deputy Scientific Director, the Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam

2009 – 2016       Head Division of Cell Biology II, the Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam

2009 – 2011       Visiting professor at the Centre for Immune Regulation of the University of Oslo, Norway

2009 -                   Ombudsman for Sanquin Amsterdam

2014- 2016         Extraordinary professor at Leiden University, chair “Chemical Immunology”

2016-                    Professor at Leiden University (LUMC and Faculty of Sciences)

2016- 2017         Head Division of Chemical Immunology, LUMC, Leiden NL

2018-                    Head Department of Cell and Chemical Biology, LUMC, Leiden NL



ORCID ID: 0000-0001-6763-2211


  • • An ER-associated pathway defines endosomal architecture for controlled cargo transport

    M.L. Jongsma, I. Berlin, R.H. Wijdeven, L. Janssen, G.M. Janssen, M.A. Garstka, H. Janssen, M. Mensink, P.A. van Veelen, R.M. Spaapen and J. Neefjes

    Cell. 2016, 166(1), 152-66.

  • • A genome-wide multidimensional RNAi screen reveals pathways controlling MHC class II antigen presentation

    P. Paul, T. van den Hoorn, M.L. Jongsma, M.J. Bakker, R. Hengeveld, L. Janssen, P. Cresswell, D.A. Egan, M. van Ham, A. ten Brinke, H. Ovaa, R.L. Beijersbergen, C. Kuijl and J. Neefjes

    Cell, 2011, 145(2), 268-283.

  • • Salmonella manipulation of host signalling pathways provokes cellular transformation associated with gallbladder carcinoma

    T. Scanu, R.M. Spaapen, J.M. Bakker, C.B. Pratap, L.E. Wu, I. Hofland, A. Broeks, V.K. Shukla, M. Kumar, H. Janssen, J.Y. Song, E.A. Neefjes-Borst, H. te Riele, D.W. Holden, G. Nath and J. Neefjes

    Cell. Host. Microbe. 2015, 10, 17(6), 763-74


Collaborate with us

Looking for information on one of our topics, a new place to conduct your research or experienced research to join forces with?  Feel free to contact us.!

Read more