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Profile picture of Jaap Kwekkeboom

J. Kwekkeboom, PhD

Associate Professor

  • Department
  • Gastroenterology & Hepatology
  • Focus area
  • Cancer Immunotherapy, Immunological tolerance after liver transplantation



My research aims to provide knowledge to improve the treatment gastrointestinal cancers and outcome of liver transplantation. 

Current research lines of my research group: 

  • Identification of immunotherapeutic targets to overcome the immunosuppressive tumor micro-environment in gastroenterological cancers. 
  • Development of a therapeutic vaccination strategy for Hepatocellular Carcinoma.
  • Establishment of a peripheral immune profile to identify liver transplant patients which are immunologically tolerant to their graft and can therefore be withdrawn from immunosuppressive therapy.


Education and career

Jaap Kwekkeboom (1959) studied Medical Biology at the University of Utrecht. During and immediately after his master study he served as a biology teacher at  the Chr. Scholengemeenschap 'De Driestar' in Gouda. During his PhD-study at the Gaubius Institute of the Netherlands Organization for Applied Research (TNO) in Leiden he investigated the regulation of bile acid synthesis in primary hepatocyte cultures. He received his PhD-degree from the University of Leiden in 1990. As a postdoctoral fellow at the departments of Biochemistry and Cell Biology & Histology of the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam he investigated mechanisms of B-cell activation and improved technology to generate human monoclonal antibodies. He did a second postdoc at the Sanquin Research Institute in Amsterdam in the field of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. 

In 1997 he was appointed as a scientist by the Department of Internal Medicine II, Erasmus MC,  Rotterdam, to start a new research line on liver transplantation immunology. In 2004 he continued this research line in Erasmus MC as assistant professor within the newly formed Laboratory of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. His research group identified immunological, genetic, and viral factors that contribute to the delicate balance between rejection and acceptance of liver grafts. In addition, they studied immunological mechanisms that contribute to the anti-inflammatory properties of high dose intravenous immunoglobulin therapy. In 2017 he was promoted to Associate Professor. His main current research focus is on identification of targets for immunotherapy in gastrointestinal cancers. 


Teaching activities

He serves as a teacher the Erasmus MC Research Master Infection & Immunity and the Bachelor study Clinical Technology.

Under his mentorship 11 PhD-students have successfully defended their PhD-thesis.

Other positions

  • Board Member of the Netherlands Society for Hepatology (2003-2009).
  • Associate Editor of the American Journal of Transplantation (2013-2018).
  • Member core teacher team Erasmus MC Research Master Infection and Immunity (2009-2018)
  • Member of the Research Master Examination Committee of Erasmus MC (2015-2018).