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E.A.C. (Erik) Wiemer, PhD

  • Department
  • Medical oncology
  • Focus area
  • Cancer/Oncology, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Biochemistry
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Current research interests:

  • The molecular mechanisms of carcinogenesis with a special interest in the biology of soft tissue sarcomas, ovarian cancer and lung cancer.
  • The involvement of microRNAs and other non-protein coding RNAs in the development and maintenance of cancer.
  • The use of diagnostic/prognostic and predictive biomarkers in cancer. 4) Novel drug targets and treatment strategies for cancer. 5) The biology and function of the vault complex, a ribonucleoprotein particle in a.o. vertebrate cells.

Research goals:

  • Obtain more insight into the biology of cancers, identify driver genes and pathways, identify biochemical vulnerabilities in order to create novel and rational treatment options.
  • Identify biomarkers for diagnostic, prognostic and predictive use in the clinic.

Field(s) of expertise

  • Cancer/Oncology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Biochemistry

Education and career


1978 - 1985 M.Sc. in Biology (March 1985)
University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands
University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
Majors: Molecular Biology, Genetics, Molecular Cytology and Electronmicroscopy

1985 - 1991 Ph.D. in Chemistry (January 1991)
E.C. Slater Institute for Biochemical Research, University of Amsterdam,the Netherlands
Thesis: “Biogenesis of peroxisomes in relation to disorders of peroxisome assembly”
Thesis supervisor: Joseph M Tager


Professional experience

Erik Wiemer was trained as a biochemist / molecular biologist and obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam in 1991. His thesis dealt with the biogenesis of peroxisomes in the context of inherited and severely debilitating, peroxisomal disorders. From 1990 – 1992 he worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the Christian de Duve Institute of Cellular and Molecular Pathology of the Université Catholique de Louvain in Brussels. In the Research Unit for Tropical Diseases of Fred Opperdoes and Paul Michels he studied glycosomal enzymes and pyruvate transport in trypanosomes. Mid 1992 he moved to the department of Biology of the University of California at San Diego investigating peroxisomal biogenesis in yeast and man in the group of Suresh Subramani. Upon returning to the Netherlands towards the end of 1995, he entered the field of cancer research by joining the department of Hematology of the Erasmus Medical Center as a senior scientist where he investigated the mechanisms of drug resistance, particularly the role of the vault complex, in hematological malignancies. In 2002 he moved to the department of Medical Oncology of the Erasmus Medical Center to work on drug resistance, pharmacokinetics / pharmacodynamics and miRNAs in solid tumors, becoming a group leader in 2004 and an associate professor in 2009. Cell line and animal models developed in his laboratory were, and still are, instrumental in elucidating the diverse functions of the vault complex, a large - but still enigmatic - ribonucleoprotein particle in cells. Furthermore his laboratory extensively investigated the involvement of miRNAs in carcinogenesis in various cancer types focusing on their role in the DNA damage response and drug resistance.


Teaching activities

Over the last five years teaching activities mainly concerned the supervision of Ph.D. students from my own laboratory (day-to-day supervision) and advising Ph.D. students from other collaborating laboratories. In addition, B.Sc. and M.Sc. students doing a research topic in the laboratory were trained in research techniques and scientific attitude. 


  • 2009 : Teach-the-teacher (Teaching course for pre-clinical education within the Erasmus MC curriculum)
  • 2009 - 2010 : Personal Leadership, Management development course for Associate and Full Professors, course 2009-2
  • 2014 - 2015 : Leadership program: Leadership on Target for divison heads, Associate Professors and Full Professors

Other positions

Editorial board member of different scientific journals; Regular reviewer for multiple (high impact) scientific journals (n>100); Regular reviewer for various (inter)national gouvernmental and research funding agencies.

  • 2004 - present : Member Research Committee Dept. of Medical Oncology, Erasmus MC
  • 2005 - present : Member of the Josephine Nefkens Research Committee (ResCom)
  • 2018 - present : Co-chair Sarcoma Work Group, Center for Personalized Cancer treatment

Scholarships, grants, and awards

Erik Wiemer obtained his M.Sc.degree with honors (cum laude) and was the recipient of several post-doctoral fellowships (American Heart Association; Human Frontier Science Program Organization; ICP fellowship).


Involved in research projects:

  • Biology of Soft Tissue Sarcomas
  • Neurofibromatosis type I: NF1 haploinsufficiency, benign and malignant tumors