P.j. (paul) Coffer
University Medical Center Utrecht
Paul Coffer studied Biochemistry at Oxford University and obtained his PhD from the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in London, UK where he identified Protein Kinase B (PKB/AKT), a critical intracellular hub regulating multiple cellular processes. He then relocated to the Hubrecht Laboratory for Developmental Biology and Stem Cell Research. This postdoctoral research was involved in investigating the mechanisms by which hematopoietic cytokines can regulate gene expression through transcription factor phosphorylation. Paul moved to the Department of Respiratory Medicine at the University Medical Centre Utrecht to initiate his own research group. During this period, work involved studying the role of intracellular signal transduction pathways in regulating both the production and function of leukocytes. 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 stem cell-fate decisions. In 2005 Paul Coffer was appointed Professor of Pediatric Immunology moving to the Wilhelmina Children's Hospital (UMCU). During this time research was expanded to investigate the molecular mechanisms regulating mesenchymal stem stem cell (MSC) function and generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) as models of disease. Furthermore, studies investigating the molecular mechanisms underlying T-regulatory cell function were initiated. In 2010 he was appointed Professor of Stem Cell Biology and currently works at the Department of Cell Biology in close collaboration with the Division of Pediatrics. Current work is focussed on themes of stem cells, immunlogy and cancer. He has recently returned from a year sabbatical at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (New York) working in the Rudensky Lab.