Louis Vermeulen wins Ammodo award for his groundbreaking colon cancer research

Louis Vermeulen, Professor of Molecular Oncology at Cancer Center Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC, is one of eight laureates of the Ammodo Science Awards for 2021. The Ammodo Science Award is awarded to excellent, internationally recognized scientists working in the Netherlands who obtained their PhD no more than fifteen years ago.

Vermeulen won the award in the Biomedical Sciences category. This award was created by Ammodo, a foundation for art and science that aims to renew the foundations of our society by providing financial support for groundbreaking fundamental scientific research. Ammodo awards the prize in collaboration with the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). Professor Vermeulen will receive a cash prize of 300,000 euro to explore new avenues in fundamental research into colon cancer.

Photo: Dirk Gillissen

Louis Vermeulen, Md, PhD, is studying how mutations in the genetic material of stem cells can lead to colon cancer. Together with his highly multidisciplinary research team, the origin and dynamics of colorectal cancer are studied with innovative approaches combining biochemistry and genetics with mathematical and physical models. Through tracking the “behavior” of stem cells, Dr. Vermeulen has made major contributions to fundamental concepts within molecular oncology.

Among other oncology research interests, Dr. Vermeulen wants to focus on Lynch syndrome in the future. This is a hereditary condition that increases the risk of colon and uterine cancer due to flaws in our DNA spell checker system. About 5 percent of people with colon cancer have this syndrome. He previously received an ERC Starting Grant (a personal grant from the European Union) and a Vidi grant from the Dutch Association for Scientific Research (NWO). In 2017, he received a $ 1.5 million Investigator Award from the New York Stem Cell Foundation. Louis Vermeulen leads a research group at the Oncode Institute, an independent research institute that is committed to translating fundamental insights about cancer as efficiently as possible into better and more affordable care for the patient.

The announcement of the Ammodo award for Louis Vermeulen’s groundbreaking research into the origins of colon cancer research coincides with the national Colon Cancer month initiative. Leading scientists at Cancer Center Amsterdam are organizing the 500 kilometers Darm-2-Darm bicycle ride to raise colorectal cancer awareness and funding for research.

For more information, see:
Ammodo foundation press release
Darmkanker maand
Darm-2-Darm ride

Lab outing

We had a great outing this year. On the program we had lama feeding, golfing and BBQing. So much fun to see all colleagues in person again after many months of working at home and video meetings due to covid-19. 

New model to study peritoneal metastases of colorectal origin

The Vermeulen lab and collaborators created a murine model to study peritoneal metastases, a common and poor prognosis disease. The established murine model recapitulates heterogeneity as observed in human peritoneal metastases, which makes it a suitable platform for future (intervention) studies. A paper on this model is published in the scientific journal ‘Laboratory Investigation’ and can be accessed here: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32504005/

Two Dutch Cancer Society (KWF) grants for members of the Vermeulen lab!

In the recent funding round, KWF granted two projects from the Vermeulen Lab.

Daniel Miedema was awarded a Young Investigator Grant for his project on tumor growth in colorectal cancer.

Nicolas Leveille, together with Louis Vermeulen and Cornelis Murre (UCSD) received a grant for the project “Wnt-regulated long noncoding RNAs as Achilles’ heel of colorectal cancers”

New paper in PNAS

A new paper about the spatiotemporal regulation of clonogenicity in colorectal cancer xenografts has been published in PNAS. Check it out here.