Noel is a Cancer Researcher with a particular interest in genetics and immunology. PI of the Immunogenetics group at the department of Pathology of the LUMC. Where he and is team are performing translational research for the development of innovative therapies with focus on colorectal and pancreatic cancer.
Clonal evolution in cancer:
The time-frame in which a cancer develops makes it an ideal model to study mechanisms of genetic evolution. In the context of tumor immunology, agents of selection and selected phenotypes have a particularly evident relation. It is fascinating how certain concepts of natural selection apply to and transcend different biological systems: from single cells, to organisms, and species.
“Understanding cancer as a disease starts with identifying crucial environmental forces and corresponding adaptive cellular strategies. Characterizing evolving populations solely by their genetic changes prior to understanding these fundamental evolutionary forces is likely to be futile.” (R. J. Gillies et al., Nature Rev Cancer 2012, 487-493)
Scientific publication short-comings:
The arbitrariness and opaqueness of the peer review process, the rough character of impact factors, the lack of fair measures to evaluate scholarly quality, and the lack of reproducibility of scientific reports are issues that must be openly discussed in the scientific community and dealt with. Most likely, several entries in my blog will discuss the previous.
Excerpts from the propositions that integrated my thesis:
“A high journal impact factor can be the skewed result of many citations of a few papers rather than the average level of the majority, reducing its value as an objective measure of an individual paper.” P Campbell. Ethics Sci Environ Polit (2008), 8: 5-7.
“The insecurity in scientific careers and the “publish or perish” philosophy are likely to be strong contributors to the lack of robust reproducibility in scientific literature.”
“Humanistic motivations should always prevail over egocentric ones in scientific research. The disenchantment with science’s values and ideals among young researchers should not be simply considered as part of the struggle.”
“It is always advisable to perceive clearly our ignorance.” (Charles Darwin. The expression of emotions in man and animals (1872))
Biodiversity (and keeping it diverse!):