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Kelly Kersten, PhD

Parker Scholar


Kelly Kersten is a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Matthew Krummel, PhD, at the University of California San Francisco. She is currently working on a project aiming to understand how tumor-associated myeloid cells affect T-cell phenotype and function. 

Originally from the Netherlands, Kersten obtained a MSc degree in Biomedical Sciences from Utrecht University and performed an internship at UCSF in the lab of Zena Werb, PhD. Fascinated by the complex interplay of the immune microenvironment and epithelial tissues, she pursued her PhD training in the lab of Karin de Visser, PhD, at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, where she was studying the role of the immune system in breast cancer metastasis and therapy responsiveness using genetically engineered mouse models that closely recapitulate human breast cancer. Her work contributed to the discovery of a novel mechanism of how neutrophils and T-cells cooperate to facilitate metastatic spread of cancer.

In 2016, Kersten was awarded a Rubicon postdoctoral fellowship from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research to join the Krummel lab, and to dissect the role of tumor-associated macrophages in T-cell exhaustion. In 2020, she was named a Parker Scholar to continue her work on this project aiming to improve current cancer immunotherapy strategies.

Education & Training

  • 2005-2008: BSc Biology Utrecht University, Netherlands
  • 2008-2011: MSc Biomedical Sciences Utrecht University, Netherlands
  • 2011-2016: PhD Cancer Immunology Netherlands Cancer Institute / Leiden University, Netherlands

Awards & Honors

  • 2020: Parker Scholar Award awarded by the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (PICI)
  • 2018: Poster presentation ‘Excellence in Research Award’ awarded by the National Philanthropic Trust
  • 2017: NWO Rubicon postdoctoral fellowship awarded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO)
  • 2015:  Best presentation award at the annual Tumor Cell Biology meeting of the Dutch Cancer Society (KWF)
  • 2014:  Travel scholarship awarded by the Dutch Foundation for Pharmacological Sciences (NSFW)
  • 2010: Student scholarship awarded by the Dutch Cancer Society (KWF)