After finishing Medical School (2004) including an undergraduate research training on neuroblastoma genetics at the prestigious University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, USA), Marleen Kok performed her Ph.D. research from 2004-2009 at The Netherlands Cancer Institute. Working in the labs of Laura van ‘t Veer (currently at UCSF) and Sabine Linn (NKI, Amsterdam), she tested the predictive value of gene signatures as well as modifications of the Estrogen Receptor to predict tamoxifen resistance. This training by true experts in the field of breast cancer biomarkers forms a solid basis to pursue her career in translational breast cancer research.
After her residency/fellowship (2009-2015) in Internal Medicine/Medical Oncology she worked as postdoctoral fellow (2015-2016) of the Dutch Cancer Society at John Hopkins University (Baltimore, USA) in the labs of Leisha Emens and Drew Pardoll. We showed that intratumoral STING (Stimulator of Interferon Genes) agonists can potently prime tumor antigen-specific CD8+ T cell responses.
In 2016 Marleen Kok returned to the NKI to work as Medical Oncologist and translational research fellow in the lab of Ton Schumacher (2016-2018), who is world-leading in the field of T cell biology. She is the lead PI of several innovative investigator-initiated breast immunotherapy trials evaluating the efficacy of PD1-blockade with (low dose) chemotherapy and since 2019 she is Group Leader at the NKI with a focus on translational breast cancer immunology.