Jan Bussink, within the theme of Rare cancers, professor of Biological and Molecular Imaging in Experimental Radiotherapy

Where and when were you born?

Denekamp, in June 1964).

Where do you live and with whom? 

In Molenhoek, 7 kilometers south of Nijmegen, the most northern part of Limburg. With my wife Joke. Our two kids are studying and moved out a few years ago to Nijmegen and Tilburg.  

Who was your role model when you were a kid?

As a kid I didn’t think of becoming a MD, I liked to do different things more in construction, I always loved Lego.  I am not sure if I had a role model. Later in high school I wanted to study biology. Only in my last year I switched to medicine.

Why aren’t you doing the same thing now as your role model (or do you?) 

It is funny to end up with a PhD in radiobiology, because biology had been for long my first choice.

What is the thing in your work history that you are most proud of?

In our group we designed a method to quantify hypoxia at the microscopic level relative to the microenvironment of a tumor. I think we were the first to show how different aspects of the tumor microenvironment are rapidly changing over time and as a result of treatment such as radiation therapy.

What is it that you would like to achieve in work in the next 5 to 10 years?

That’s a tricky one. Five or 10 years ago I wouldn’t have known were we are now. For radiation oncology the field is moving rapidly. We are trying to convince the need for an MR linac in our institute. This technique is revolutionary: for the first time we can actually see the tumor at the very same time that we irradiate. I hope we can have the equipment up and running within 1.5years. Our lab doubled when the group of Gosse joined our lab. The next years this will pay off; the combination of immunotherapy plus radiation therapy is very powerful and that is something we will need to exploit the coming ten years.

For what can we wake you up?

Pasta with salmon.

What is your hobby and how good are you at it?  

Listening to music, I am very good at it, from the Black Keys to Simon and Garfunkel. Also, we like to travel, northern America, the Alpine region and Scandinavia are our favorite places.

 What is your biggest irritation?

The increase in paperwork and the fact that every time people want to reduce paperwork this means more forms.

Who would you like to invite for dinner, if you had the chance?

Ronald Goedemondt.

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