A Personal Touch of Florian Wimmers

Wimmers , Florian

Please learn more about colleagues in our "Personal Touch" series setting employees in the spotlight. A light-hearted manner to learn about the colleagues you know and those you don't!.

This week: Florian Wimmers






1. Name & Nationality
Florian Wimmers, German

2. When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a kid, I really liked the Star Wars movies. I always wanted to become an aerospace engineer to build space ships and fly to the stars.

3. What was your previous academic training, where did you study?
I started my academic training in Germany where I studied at the Heinrich-Heine University, Düsseldorf and the Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Biomedicine, Münster. In 2011, I received a Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry and then came to the charming, little town of Nijmegen where I started the master program "Molecular Mechanisms of Disease". For my master internship I later left to Bellinzona, Switzerland and after receiving an UMC PhD fellowship, I returned to Nijmegen to start my doctoral studies in the Department of Tumor Immunology.

4. What is your current function and what would you like to achieve?
As a PhD student, I believe that one day cancer will become a controllable, chronic disease. Our lab is interested in how the immune system of cancer patients can be exploited to achieve this goal. We develop vaccines that aim to activate killer T lymphocytes, which are able to destroy cancer cells in some cases leading to lasting protection from the disease. A large fraction of patients is unfortunately still not benefitting from this line of treatment, my task is to further improve the anticancer immune response and to identify functional signatures of effective killer T cells. A focus in my work lies on multifunctional T cells, which combine several anticancer functions making them potent tumor killers.

5. The RIMLS motto is 'to understand molecular mechanisms of disease'. What does this mean for you? 
The immune system plays an important role in many processes in our body and is involved in various diseases. As a consequence, there is a huge network of molecular mechanisms that control its activation, inhibition, migration, maintenance, etc. All these effects are important for the immune response against cancer. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of the immune system and its interaction with the cancer is in my opinion therefore the key to improving anticancer killer T cells. 

6. What is the biggest motivation in your work?
Immunotherapy was celebrated as the breakthrough of the year by academic journals in 2013 after immunostimulatory drugs proofed to be efficient in treating metastatic melanoma patients. Nevertheless, lasting responses are still only observed in a minority of patients. My biggest motivation is the amazing work the immune system can do in some cancer patients and the realization that there is still so much more to be done before all patients benefit.

7. What is your dream for the future?
My dream for the future is hence to make a significant impact on our understanding of the T cell-mediated anticancer immune response in order to extend the positive effects of immunotherapy to a wider group of patients. Also I would like to have a house in Italy at the coast one day.

8. Fun-facts. State an interesting/obscure fact about yourself together with two
that are false? Correct answer will be revealed to readers in the subsequent edition.
A: I love to eat fish.
B: During the 3 years I already live in Nijmegen, I never managed to do a tour on the Pannenkoekenboot.
C: On weekends I work as professional wrestler feared under the pseudonym "Killer T cell"


Correct answer of Erik Aarntzen : Correct answer is: C, or this is the most correct answer. My vocal capacities are below zero, just enough to present my research... And I did held a guitar on many campfire occasions, however, I often held a beer in the other hand...

State an interesting/obscure fact about yourself together with two that are false?
A: I am a fabulous gitar player...
B: I can sing like a nightingale...
C: No lunchbox is safe, I drum on nearly everything...


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