dr. Annelies Van Hemelryk (MD)

CRIG member
Annelies Van Hemelryk

Postdoctoral researcher - Pediatric Precision Oncology Lab (PPOL) Ghent, Center for Medical Genetics (Faculty of Medicine and Health Science, UGent)
Postdoctoral researcher - Laboratory of Myeloid Cell Biology in Tissue Damage and Inflammation, VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research
Principal investigator: prof. Frank Speleman (PhD), prof. dr. Kaat Durinck (PhD) and prof. Charlotte Scott (PhD)


Research focus

Neuroblastoma is a childhood tumor accountable for 10% of all pediatric cancer-related deaths. Especially high-risk disease continues to be fatal, with over half of these patients dying within 5 years. Introducing anti-GD2 immunotherapy has resulted in a modest survival benefit, but still many patients experience relapses. Neuroblastoma is typically considered an immunologically ‘cold’ tumor and emerging evidence suggests that tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) play a critical role in evading immune responses.
My research aims at understanding the spatial and functional heterogeneity in cell populations within the neuroblastoma tumor microenvironment, more specifically in macrophage subsets. This will serve as an important entry point for therapeutic exploitation of immune modulating strategies and further improvement of immune-directed therapy responses.


I graduated as a medical doctor from Ghent University in 2014, and subsequently practiced as a resident in urology. From 2018 onward, I undertook a PhD and Marie Curie fellowship within the TransPot consortium (Translational Research Network for Prostate Cancer) at the Experimental Urology Laboratory in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. My research concentrated on leveraging PDX- and patient-derived prostate cancer organoids as a cornerstone for high-throughput drug screens and personalized medicine. 
Since August 2023, I have been engaged as a postdoctoral researcher at the Pediatric Precision Oncology Lab (UGent) and Charlotte Scott Lab (VIB-IRC). In this role, my focus is on exploring novel targets for combination treatment and immune modulation in neuroblastoma.

Contact & links