Press and Public Relations

Joint International Journal of Cancer and Klaus Tschira Stiftung Lecture at DKFZ

Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - Prof. Dr. René Bernards

René Bernards received his Ph.D. in 1984 from the University of Leiden. He joined the laboratory of Robert Weinberg at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, USA for his postdoctoral training. There, he studied the function of both oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. He continued this work when he joined the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center as an assistant professor in 1988. In 1992 he was appointed senior staff scientist at the Netherlands Cancer Institute and in 1994 part-time professor of molecular carcinogenesis at Utrecht University, The Netherlands. In the last decade, his laboratory has focused on the development of new tools to carry out genome-wide functional genetic screens to identify novel biomarkers of response to cancer drugs. He co-founded “Agendia”, a genomics-based diagnostic company that started offering the first microarray-based diagnostic test for the clinical management of breast cancer.

One of Bernard’s greatest achievements was to develop an approach of using RNA interference to silence thousands of individual genes in cancer cells. This approach makes it possible to quickly identify precisely which of the thousands of genes in certain tumors have been deregulated, which in turn helps determine the medicines to which the genes will respond.

Bernards is one of the leaders in his field. He has published numerous articles in top journals such as Nature and Cell. He has also chalked up an impressive number of grants, keynote lectures and prizes, including the 2005 Spinoza Prize. René Bernards is a member of the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences in The Netherlands and is one of the recipients of this year’s Academy Professor Prizes.


Prof. Dr. René Bernards interviewed by Prof. Dr. Dr. Heike Allgayer

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