Martijn  Verdoes

Martijn  Verdoes

Verdoes, Martijn 2017.jpg


Research interests include organic chemistry, chemical biology and tumor immunology with the aim to combine all these disciplines in the new and emerging field of chemical immunology. Current research projects focus on the development of novel immunomodulatory approaches to aid cancer immunotherapy. Molecularly defined macromolecules are synthesized to deliver tumor antigens to dendritic cells to educate the immune system. Furthermore, molecules which are able to dampen the immunosuppression in the tumor microenvironment are designed and synthesized to prime a tumor for infiltrating effector immune cells. To study the role of proteases in cancer, in specific immune cells and in specific cellular compartments, smart imaging tools – activity-based probes – are designed and synthesized and applied in noninvasive optical imaging, intravital microscopy and biochemical characterization studies. Together, the research efforts at the interface of chemistry and immunology will give us new insights in the development of more effective and safer immunotherapeutic approaches.


Short CV

Martijn Verdoes obtained his Masters degree in Chemistry from Leiden University in 2004 and his PhD degree in Organic Chemistry from Leiden University in 2008. His thesis work mainly focused on the design and synthesis of activity-based inhibitors and probes to study proteasome function. In 2009, Martijn got awarded a NWO Rubicon Fellowship and he joined the lab of Matthew Bogyo at the Stanford School of Medicine, California, USA, where he designed and synthesized quenched activity-based probes (qABPs) for non-invasive imaging of cancer. Inspired by the observation that his qABPs got activated in specific immune cells in tumors he joined the Tumor Immunology Department in the Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences (RIMLS) in 2013. In 2015, he got awarded an ERC Starting Grant and an Institute of Chemical Immunology Tenure Track Fellowship. Martijn Verdoes is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Tumor Immunology and is affiliated with Bio-organic Chemistry at the Faculty of Science, Radboud University.

More information can be found on the homepage of his laboratory:​


Key words

Chemical Immunology, Chemical Biology, Tumor Immunology, Cancer Immunotherapy, Cancer Vaccines, Tumor Microenvironment, Activity-based Probes, Proteases.


Break-through discoveries

  1. Design and synthesis of the first cathepsin S selective quenched activity-based probe and the application in live cell dual color activity localization imaging (JACS 2015).
  2. A novel pan-reactive cysteine cathepsin phenoxymethyl ketone quenched activity-based probe with superior noninvasive imaging capacities (JACS 2013).
  3. M2-type Tumor-Associate Macrophages are the major source of cysteine cathepsin activity in the tumor microenvironment in a syngeneic mouse model of breast cancer (Chem Biol 2012).

 Key publications

  1. Verdoes, M.; Verhelst, S. H. L. Detection of protease activity in cells and animals. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2016, 1864, 130-42.
  2. Oresic Bender, K; Ofori, L.; Van der Linden, W. A.; Mock, E. D.; Data, G.; Chowdhury,S.; Li, H.; Segal, E.; Sanchez Lopez, M.; Ellman, J. A.; Figdor, C. G.; Bogyo, M.; Verdoes, M. Design of a highly selective quenched activity-based probe and its application in dual color imaging studies of cathepsin S activity localization. J Am Chem Soc. 2015, 137, 4771-7.
  3. Vasaturo, A.; Verdoes, M.; De Vries, J.; Torensma, R.; Figdor, C. G. Restoring immunosurveillance by dendritic cell vaccines and manipulation of the tumor microenvironment. Immunobiology. 2015, 220, 243-248.
  4. Verdoes, M.*; Oresic Bender, K.; Segal, E.; Van der Linden, W. A.; Salahuddin, S.; Withana, N. P.; Sanman, L. E.; Bogyo, M.* An improved quenched fluorescent probe for imaging of cysteine cathepsin activity. J Am Chem Soc. 2013, 135, 14726-30.
  5. Verdoes, M.; Edgington, L. E.; Scheeren, F. A.; Leyva, M.; Blum, G.; Weiskopf, K.; Bachmann, M. H.; Ellman, J. A.; Bogyo, M. A nonpeptidic cathepsin S activity-based probe for noninvasive optical imaging of tumor-associated macrophages. Chem Biol. 2012, 19, 619 – 628.