BioSB Young Investigator Award 2018

Bram Thijssen, Netherlands Cancer Institute

The selection committee of the BioSB Young Investigator Award 2018 has selected this year's award winner! The winner is: Bram Thijssen, Netherlands Cancer Institute. Bram will receive the award at the award ceremony on May 16, 16:00 and he will give an honorary lecture afterward.


Bram Thijssen obtained a BSc degree in biomedical science from Maastricht University and a MSc degree in computational biology and bioinformatics from the ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich. During his bachelor, he visited the group of prof. Haiyuan Yu at Cornell University where he investigated disease mutations in structurally resolved protein-protein interaction networks. For his master thesis, Bram worked in the group of prof. Tom Heskes at Radboud University Nijmegen, focusing on the use of Bayesian statistics to infer parameters of mechanistic models. He then moved to the group of prof. Lodewyk Wessels at the Netherlands Cancer Institute to start a PhD. He there further developed methods for Bayesian inference with multiple data types, and applied these methods to model how breast cancer cells respond to anticancer drugs. He now continues as postdoctoral scientist in the same group, with a particular interest for translating this approach to a clinical setting to create models of patient drug response.


Bayesian statistics for integrative, knowledge-based models of biological systems

Computational models in biology often contain many unknown parameters, and these parameters are furthermore often not constrained by any one dataset. The use of multiple types of measurements may allow a better model determination, as each type of measurement can provide different information of the system of interest. In this talk, I will illustrate in two different contexts how Bayesian statistics can be used to integrate multiple data types with knowledge-based, mechanistic models. First, in models of yeast cell cycle regulation, this approach allowed accurate determination of physical kinetic rate constants. This in turn allowed a model to be falsified, which was not possible with any of the datasets separately. Second, in the context of oncogenic signaling in breast cancer cells, we have used this approach to create a model that describes the response to seven different kinase inhibitors simultaneously. Iterative model development and the inclusion of multiple types of data appears to be a useful approach for creating models of biological systems.

Call for nominations

During the BioSB 2018 on May 16, we will present the BioSB Young Investigator Award 2018. The award ceremony is planned on Day 2 of the conference (May 16th). The winner will receive a prize of 500 Euros sponsored by the BioSB research school and will present an honorary lecture.


The candidate must have conducted his/her bioinformatics or systems biology research primarily in a Dutch institute. The primary result on which the award will be based will be the PhD thesis written by the candidate. Therefore, the final version of the thesis of the candidate should have been submitted to the PhD committee at the candidate's university on April 18, 2018 at the latest.

Other criteria that might be considered by the award committee are:

  • The candidate significantly contributed to the idea of the research;
  • The research of the candidate resulted in novel or improved bioinformatics or systems biology methodologies;
  • The research of the candidate advanced life sciences research;
  • The candidate independently conducted the research;
  • The research resulted in a scientific publication, software application or database;
  • The work of the candidate has given broad visibility of bioinformatics or systems biology in the life sciences field;
  • The candidate has otherwise significantly contributed to bioinformatics/systems biology or the bioinformatics/systems biology community in the Netherlands.


Each nomination must be accompanied with:

  • Name and affiliation of candidate
  • Motivation for nomination by group leader of candidate
  • Curriculum Vitae of the candidate
  • A URL to the final version of the PhD thesis (preferably to the PDF of the printed version)

Submission deadline: April 18, 2018 - CLOSED!

Award committee

The 2018 members of the award committee are:

  • Patrick Kemmeren, Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology
  • Alexander Schönhuth, Centrum voor Wiskunde en Informatica
  • Dick de Ridder, Wageningen University & Research
  • Natal van Riel, TU Eindhoven




Winner of the BioSB Young Investigator Award 2017: Ahmed Mahfouz (LUMC). 




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