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Roland Kuiper appointed professor of Molecular Genetics

’Roland Kuiper, research group leader at the Princess Máxima Center, was appointed professor of Molecular Genetics of Hereditary Cancer in Children at UMC Utrecht this month. Prof. Kuiper focuses on finding practical applications for fundamental genetic research. ‘The aim of my research is to improve care for children with a genetic predisposition to cancer.’

Strength in collaboration

Genetic predisposition plays a role in about 10% of children with cancer. In these children,  disease is caused by a hereditary change in the DNA. Prof. Kuiper about his research: ‘Optimal care for children with a hereditary predisposition to cancer starts with recognizing and understanding the condition. We study why tumors can develop in children with faults in certain genes and how this happens. We also look at the specific genetic patterns that characterize these tumors. This knowledge adds to developments in the field of early diagnosis of the hereditary condition, treatment and aftercare for the child, and in the long term even the prevention of cancer.’ He continues: ‘The collaboration with UMC Utrecht is crucial for our research. Within my professorship I hope to be able to further strengthen this collaboration between the UMC Utrecht and the Princess Máxima Center, both in research and education.’

Roland Kuiper has been active in genetic research into childhood cancer for more than 15 years. He was closely involved in the discovery of various hereditary causes of cancer, both in children and adults. The original focus of his childhood cancer research was acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), one of the most common childhood cancers. At the Máxima, he has also started to focus on other forms of childhood cancer, including Wilms tumors and non-Hodgkin lymphomas. Hereditary predisposition plays an important role in some children with these cancers.

The new chair, which falls under the Child Health and Cancer strategic programs at the UMC Utrecht, will be housed in the Genetics department of UMC Utrecht and takes effect from 1 August 2022. Prof. Kuiper's inaugural lecture will be given at a later date.