Curriculum Vitae Paul Coffer

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Biographical sketch

Paul Coffer studied Biochemistry at Oxford University.  In 1991 he obtained his PhD from the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in London, UK. Here, in the lab of Prof. James Woodgett, he identified Protein Kinase B (PKB/c-akt), a novel player in intracellular signal transduction.

He subsequently relocated to the Hubrecht Institute for Developmental Biology and Stem Cell Research in Utrecht, The Netherlands. This postdoctoral research was involved in investigating the mechanisms by which hematopoietic cytokines can regulate gene expression through transcription factor phosphorylation. At this time, together with Prof. Boudewijn Burgering (Moelcular Cancer Research, University Medical Center Utrecht), he also demonstrated that PKB was a critical mediator of growth factor-mediated signal transduction.

Hereafter he moved to the Department of Respiratory Medicine at the University Medical Centre Utrecht to initiate his own research group. During this period, work focused on studying the role of intracellular signal transduction pathways in regulating both the production and function of leukocytes. A particular focus of this research was in determining signal specificity between hematopoietic cytokines. Work in his group also demonstrated that PKB-mediated phosphorylation of Forkhead transcription factors (FOXO) was critical for the regulation of leukocyte proliferation and survival. These studies laid the groundwork for his further research into the regulation of hematopoietic cell-fate decisions.

In 2005 Paul Coffer was appointed Professor of Pediatric Immunology at the University Medical Centre Utrecht and moved to the Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital where he worked within the Department of Immunology and the Center for Molecular and Cellular Intervention. Here research was expanded to include study not only of hematopoietic stem cell function, but also mesenchymal stem cells. Furthermore, a new research line investigating the control of regulatory T cell (Treg) function was initiated. This is focused on understanding the post-translational modifications regulating Foxp3 activity, a transcription factor critical for Treg development and function.

In 2011 he moved to the Department of Cell Biology at the University Medical Center Utrecht where he was appointed Professor of Stem Cell Biology. Here he is continuing his research into the regulation of intracellular signaling pathways and their role in regulating (stem) cell fate decisions. Besides the research lines previously mentioned, generation of patient-derived induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells has been introduced. Finally the role of FoxO and Sox4 trancription factors in tumorogenesis and metastasis is being investigated. Current work in his research group is focused on applying this fundamental research to the study of cancer, autoimmunity and regenerative medicine.

From 2013-2014 he is working at the Memoral Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (New York, USA) as a visiting professor in the Rudensky Lab.

Professional career

1988-1991. PhD study at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in London, UK (Supervisor: Prof. J. Woodgett).
1992-1995. Postdoctoral fellow at the Hubrecht Laboratory for Developmental Biology & Stem Cell Research, Utrecht, The Netherlands, with Prof. Wiebe Kruijer.
1995-1998. Principle Investigatorat the Department of Pulmonary Diseases, University Medical Center Utrecht. The Netherlands.
1998-2001. Assistant Professor at the Department of Pulmonary Diseases, University Medical Center Utrecht. The Netherlands.
2000. Visiting Scientist at the University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison. USA.
2001-2004. Associate Professor at the Department of Pulmonary Diseases, University Medical Center Utrecht. The Netherlands.
2005-2010. Professor of Pediatric Immunology at the Department of Immunology and at the Division of Pediatrics, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands.
2009-2010. Interim Head of Department at the Department of Immunology, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands.
2011-current. Professor of Stem Cell Biology at the Department of Cell Biology of the University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands.
2013-2014 Visiting Professor. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, USA.

Awards and honors

2002. VIDI Innovative Research Grant from Dutch Scientific Organisation (NWO)
2004. Von Freyburg Medal by the Catherijne Stichting
2004. Stimuleringsleerstoel from the University Medical Utrecht, The Netherlands

Financial support

1996 Dutch Asthma Foundation (NAF) grant (with L Koenderman)
1997 Dutch Asthma Foundation (NAF) grant (with L Koenderman)
1999 Netherlands Cancer Society (NKB) grant
2000 Dutch Scientific Organisation (NWO) grant (with RH Medema and BMT Burgering)
2001 Dutch Scientific Organisation (NWO) VIDI grant
2002 Netherlands Cancer Society (NKB 2003-2920) grant (with E Vellenga)
2004 Netherlands Cancer Society (NKB) grant
2005 Lansteiner Organisation for Blood Transfusion (LSBR) grant (with L Meyaard)
2007 Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital (WKZ Fonds) grant
2008 Dutch Reumatology Foundation (ReumaFonds) grant
2009 Center for Translational Molecular Medicine (CTMM) grant (with BMT Burgering)
2010 European Research Projects on Rare Diseases (E-RARE; SCN) grant
2011 Netherlands Institute for Regenerative Medicine (FES consortium) grant
2011 Netherlands Cancer Society (NKB) grant (with E Vellenga)
2013 Netherlands Cancer Society (NKB) grant (with P Derksen)

Research interests

Stem cell biology, regenerative medicine, cancer, immunology, autoimmune diseases, hematopoiesis,
signal transduction, transcription factors, receptors, kinases, post-translational modifications

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