Mammalian Orthoreovirus (reovirus) and human adenovirus have shown to be promising viral vectors in oncolytic virus (OV) research. Therefore, we try to improve these viruses for poor prognostic cancers like glioblastoma, prostate and pancreatic cancer. Currently, I study the biology of wildtype reovirus and our bioselected mutants as to unravel the mechanism of oncolysis, and to discover important immune and cell death pathways involved in reoviral infection and cancer. A broader understanding of reovirus’ oncolytic potential could aid in a more directed approach of the design of our viruses for viro(immuno)therapy. In parallel, new non-human viruses are being generated to complement the library of OVs and to circumvent pre-existing immunity in the population. A panel of non-human primate adenoviruses are being tested, selected, and eventually modified for their potential anti-tumor effect in poor prognostic cancers.
In 2012, I started my bachelor Biomedical Sciences at the University of Amsterdam and specialized in Infection & Immunity at Utrecht University. During my masters, I performed a 9-months internship studying the role of two microRNAs associated with Sjögren’s Syndrome in dendritic cell function at the Laboratory of Translational Immunology (UMCU). Following, in collaboration with prof. Hoeben, we published a review on the potential use of herpesvirus microRNAs in gene therapy immune-evasion strategies. Thereafter, I joined the lab of prof. Sinclair at the department of Medicine at the University of Cambridge for a minor internship. For my thesis, I assessed the role of T cells and monocytes in the detection and elimination of HCMV, and whether interaction between these subsets is crucial to initiate a switch from virustatic to virucidal control. In 2017 I started my PhD at the Virus and Stem Cell Biology group, under supervision of prof. Hoeben.
• Herpesvirus microRNAs for use in gene therapy immune-evasion strategies.
Bots STF & Hoeben RC;
Gene Therapy, 2017, 24, 385-391.