VU University Medical Center (VUmc) is a leading health institution in the Netherlands for healthcare and research. The VUmc will participate with two departments: the Department of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery and the Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics. The scientific research carried out at the VUmc is closely linked to issues that are important both for the hospital itself and for society in general. The aim of research is to expand knowledge (fundamental research) and to apply this knowledge to the health service (strategic and applied research). The Department of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery chaired by Prof Leemans is one of the leading head and neck cancer services in the Netherlands treating annually >400 new patients. Prof Brakenhoff heads the section Tumour Biology within the Department that encompasses a laboratory with >20 researchers and all facilities for up to date molecular research. The Dept. focuses on translational research, and brought sentinel node biopsy and HPV testing to the clinic. There is a close interaction between clinicians and researchers. Research themes within the Department are: 1) the aetiology of head and neck cancer, 2) the identification of the genes causing head and neck cancer, 3) the role of HPV, 4) molecular diagnosis and staging, 5) field cancerization, 6) identification of novel therapeutic targets for personalized treatment, and 7) molecular imaging. The VUmc can count on the Microarray Core Facility (MAF) which is involved in a wide spectrum of (inter-) national cancer research and clinical genetics projects. The facilities' expertise in processing clinical archival material (FFPE) for microarray CGH has a world-wide reputation. The Section Biostatistics of the Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics provides consultation for numerous epidemiological and clinical studies. Moreover, it focuses on methodological research on screening strategies and analysis of genomics data. Its major research themes include genomics and HPV modelling, but also focuses on methods for analysing longitudinal data and on building prediction models.

Role in BD2Decide

The VU Medical Center is one of the reference centres for the BD2Decide clinical study execution, and as such is responsible for the design of the clinical study and will be deeply involved in the clinical study execution and on the assessment of clinical impacts. The VU University Department of Bio-statistics is responsible for prediction modelling in a general sense. Specifically: a) automated updating of predictive models, creation of a models library; b) strategies and tools for integrating objective predictions with clinician’s knowledge and population data; and c) defining the most accurate model for each specific patient subgroup.

Contact Details

Contact Person:

Ruud. H. Brakenhoff, PhD


h.berkhof at

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