dr. Rupert Mayer (PhD)

CRIG member
Rupert Mayer

Postdoctoral researcher – Impens group, Department for Biomolecular Medicine (Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UGent) and VIB-UGent Center for Medical Biotechnology
Principal Investigator: prof. Francis Impens


Research focus

The MHC (major histocompatibility complex) class I pathway is present in all nucleated cells of the human body and presents fragments of intracellular, cytosolic proteins on the cell surface. By presenting peptide fragments of cytosolic proteins, the MHC class I molecules serve as "windows" for the immune system to peek into the cell and to evaluate its health status by scanning for non-self-peptides arising from infections, or malignant transformation. Presented non-self antigenic peptides will be recognized by CD8+ cytotoxic T cells, which will induce apoptosis in affected cells resulting in clearance of compromised cells.

Mutations in malignant cells can lead to alterations in the amino acid sequence of a number of proteins which give rise to so-called “neoepitopes” enabling CD8+ T cells to specifically identify and neutralize malignant cells. Together with the groups of Prof. Vandekerckhove and Prof. Menten we aim to identify neoepitopes in lung cancer biopsies by mass spectrometry-based identification of MHC class I peptides presented on tumor cells. Our results will be combined with DNA and RNA sequencing data to develop patient-specific lung cancer vaccines.

My responsibilities within the project cover the isolation and mass spectrometry-based identification of peptide neoepitopes presented on lung tumor samples. 


  • BSc in Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences (DIT, Ireland) - 2009
  • MSc in Biological Chemistry (University of Vienna, Austria) - 2013
  • PhD at the Dpt. of Analytical Chemistry in Proteomics (University of Vienna, Austria) - 2018
  • Postdoc at the VIB-UGent Center for Medical Biotechnology with Prof. Impens (Ghent, Belgium) - current

Key publications

  • ‘Proteomics and metabolomics identify molecular mechanisms of aging potentially predisposing for chronic lymphocytic leukemia.’ Molecular and Cellular Proteomics, 2018. (PMID: 29196338
  • ‘Metabolic, Anti-apoptotic and Immune Evasion Strategies of Primary Human Myeloma Cells Indicate Adaptions to Hypoxia’. Molecular and Cellular Proteomics, 2019. (PMID: 30792264)
  • ‘Proteome profiling of keratinocytes transforming to malignancy.’ Electrophoresis, 2015. (PMID: 25395074)

Contact & links