Tara Muijlwijk has been selected for The Amsterdam UMC Young Talent Fund.

This fund provides young excellent Amsterdam UMC PhD candidates the unique opportunity to follow a course or an internship at one of the top international research institutes.

Tara Muijlwijk is a PhD Student at the department of Otolaryngology / head and neck surgery within the Tumor Biology & Immunology laboratory. Her research focuses on understanding the tumor microenvironment (TME) and in particular immune infiltrate within Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma (HNSCC). She is setting up single cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) and fluorescent multiplex immunohistochemistry (mIHC). With these state of the art methods individual cells within the TME can be identified and characterized. With this information Tara anticipates to identify specific signatures that may explain the variety of tumor classes and the associations with clinical outcome which should in future applications allow selection of patients for immunotherapies.

The analyses for scRNA-seq and mIHC are complex, are constantly developing and require advanced bioinformatically skills. During a research traineeship of three months at the Earle A. Chiles Research Institute (EACRI), a division of Providence Cancer Institute, Portland (Oregon, US) Tara will be trained in these analyses.

After this period in Portland Tara anticipates to start with the analyses for her PhD project. In addition, with this research traineeship the most up to date in-house knowledge is generated for scRNA-seq and mIHC analyses at Amsterdam UMC.