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Julie Nonnekens

Associate professor and principal investigator

Julie Nonnekens received her MSc in Biotechnology at Wageningen University in 2009. She obtained her PhD in cancer biology with the focus on DNA repair mechanisms at the University of Toulouse (France) in 2013. Following, she was a postdoc at the Hubrecht Institute working on ribosome biogenesis in cancer and longevity. In 2014 Julie joined the Erasmus MC Departments of Radiology & Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Genetics and is now Associate Professor. The research of her group bridges the interests of both departments in the field of DNA damage repair mechanisms and nuclear medicine to study the radiation biology of targeted radionuclide anticancer treatment to ultimately optimize treatment regimens.  

Julie has received several (young investigator) awards and is principal investigator on various research grants including the prestigious ERC starting grant. She is chair of the Netherlands Society of Radiobiology ( and co-founder of the European working group on Radiobiology of Molecular Radionuclide Therapy (  

Justine Perrin

Post-doctoral researcher


My current work focuses on holmium-166 and yttrium-90, two radionuclides currently used in the clinic for the treatment of liver cancer for radioembolization. This treatment consists in the injection of radiolabeled microsphere in the liver arteria to irradiate liver tumours. However, there is currently no evidence of which radionuclide would lead to the best therapeutic response. I am therefore studying the radiobiological impact of both these radionuclides on liver cancer cells in vitro, in order to assess which radionuclide is best suited for this therapy.

Mariangela Sabatella

Post-doctoral researcher


Targeted radionuclide therapy (TRT) induces DNA damage in the tumor cells causing their death. However, not much is known about the type of DNA damage induced by the different radionuclides nor about the DNA damage response (DDR) that tumor cells activated to overcome the damage and withstand the therapy.
My work aims to increase knowledge about the molecular mechanisms underlying the action and response to (novel) TRT used to treat metastatic prostate cancer and identify possible targets for combination therapies with DDR inhibitors.

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Giulia Tamborino

Post-doctoral researcher


My research focuses on micro-/nano- dosimetry and biophysical modeling to predict relevant in vitro and in vivo biological end-points, such as cell death, DNA damage induction and tumor volume reduction following targeted radionuclide therapy. I am developing more refined dosimetry frameworks including realistic cellular morphologies and organelles for radionuclide localization, along with the DNA content in order to score DNA damage and elucidate the mechanisms of biological damage caused by Targeted Radionuclide Therapy. I am working in a multidisciplinary environment to develop simulation tools that can effectively consider the intricate nature of DNA damage and repair caused by targeted radionuclide exposure, thereby integrating novel radiobiological information obtained from specifically designed experiments. My ultimate goal is to gain a fundamental understanding of targeted radionuclide therapy with dose-effect relationships that could be implemented in clinical practice for treatment optimization. 

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Nina Becx

PhD candidate


Peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) with [177Lu]Lu-[DOTA0,Tyr3]octreotate (177Lu-DOTATATE) is an effective and safe treatment for metastasized neuroendocrine tumors (NETs). 177Lu-DOTATATE has been proven to secure long-term survival. However, objective response rates are limited. The goal of my projects is to improve this therapy. We are currently working on a phase 1 clinical trial where we combine PRRT with the PARP inhibitor olaparib. We also want to get a better understanding of the radiation response of 177Lu-DOTATATE in healthy cells, looking at DNA damage induction and transcriptional effects in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. 

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Tijmen de Wolf

PhD candidate


My research focus is the image analysis for peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT). The project aims to understand the radiobiology of PRRT. For this purpose, live cell microscopy is used to capture the dynamics of the radionuclides and DNA damage over time. Image analysis is an essential step required for the quantification of the underlying dynamics. Especially, live cell imaging suffers from low signal to noise ratios making this a challenging task. We develop novel algorithms to improve and fully automate the analysis.  

Nina Overdevest

PhD candidate


Currently, there is a lack of effective treatments available for pediatric medulloblastoma and diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma / diffuse midline glioma (DIPG/DMG). Therefore, the goal of this project is to determine through preclinical research whether targeted radionuclide therapy (TRT) is a potent treatment option for medulloblastoma and DIPG/DGM. This project includes the optimization of TRT for pediatric brain tumors using different tracers and radionuclides. 

Pleun Engbers

PhD candidate


Targeted radionuclide therapy (TRT) for patients with metastatic neuroendocrine tumors prolongs survival, however complete cures remain rare. Up to now, little is known about the biological effects of ionizing radiation in TRT. Gaining a better insight into the radiobiology of TRT could contribute to improving the therapeutic window of TRT. Therefore, in this project we aim to determine cell-intrinsic radiobiological parameters for TRT. We evaluate amongst others intracellular localization of the radiotracer, DNA damage kinetics, and cellular response to irradiation.   

Current students:

Samuel Odro (Hogeschool Breda)

Vincent Ribbe (TU Delft / Erasmus University)

Michelle Valk (TU Delft / Erasmus University)


Stefan Roobol – postdoc 2019-2022

Thom Reuvers – PhD student (defense expected 2024)

Danny Feijtel – PhD student (defense 31-1-24)

Bianca Dijkstra – PhD student (UMCG, defense 16-10-23)

Eline Ruigrok – PhD student (Defense 21-3-23)

Giulia Tamborino – PhD student (defense 26-01-2022)

Wenhao Zhang – PhD student (defense 18-02-2020)

Joke Zink – Research technician 2022-2024

Nicole Verkaik – Research technician 2020-2022

Nicole van Vliet – Research technician 2018-2020

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