Jalenka (J.) van Wijk


BSc Biomedical Science and MSc Oncology at the Free University of Amsterdam

Research interests

Circulating tumor cells in Neuroblastoma.
Neuroblastoma is the most common solid extracranial childhood cancer. It originates from the developing neural system and is most often found on the adrenal gland. Neuroblastoma has low patient survival rates and is the main cause of pediatric cancer-associated deaths.
Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in blood are used in multiple adult cancers as a liquid tumor biopsy: they function as tumor biomarkers for diagnostics and treatment monitoring. In Neuroblastoma these CTCs, together with disseminated tumor cells (DTC) in the bone marrow, are detected by immunocytology and RQ-PCR. However, these techniques are unable to characterize tumor cells in detail.
We want to isolate and further study the characteristics of Neuroblastoma CTCs and DTCs. In addition, we want to investigate if these circulating cells can be implemented as tumor biomarkers in diagnostics and treatment monitoring of Neuroblastoma patients.


We plan to include the following techniques:

  • Cell culture
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Flow cytometry
  • Immuno-magnetic bead enrichment
  • RQ-PCR
  • Nanofluidic proteomic immunoassay (NIA)


2012-present PhD student at Dept of Experimental Immunohematology, Sanquin Research
2012 MSc Literature thesis: The glioblastoma tumor microenvironment. The role of exosomes in development and progression of glioblastoma
2011 MSc Internship Cell Biology II department, NKI-AVL Amsterdam
Subject: Tamoxifen regulation of PKA-dependent phosphorylation of Estrogen Receptor
2010 MSc Internship Oncogenetics, Clinical genetics department, VUmc Amsterdam
Subject: Genetic interaction between Fanconi anemia and homologous recombination
2008-2009 BSc Internship Epstein-Barr virus group, Pathology department, Cancer Centre VUmc Amsterdam
Subject: Elimination of Epstein-Barr virus with use of
sequence specific small molecules