Dr. Jurjen Tel leads the Immunoengineering research group at the department of Biomedical Engineering of Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). He strives to develop and apply innovative tools to study the immune system and to create or improve therapies by enhancing or modulating immune responses. Central to his research is a systems immunology approach, taking into account that successful immunotherapy has to deal with a wide range cell types, specialized subtypes and signaling molecules. To study cellular heterogeneity in conjunction with signals from the microenvironment, and thus be able to investigate regulatory strategies of cell populations, Tel's group is developing an innovative 'single cell technology toolbox'. This will enable the compartmentalization of single cells or small groups of cells in chambers or droplets, allowing for the design of 'minimal environments' where most of the external factors influencing cellular behavior are excluded. Similarly, complex artificial microenvironments can be designed to assess the behavior of single cells in response to e.g. soluble messengers or potential interaction partners. By thus probing cellular heterogeneity and decoding immune interactions in great detail, Tel hopes to revolutionize the fields of immunology and cellular immunotherapy. His research currently revolves around human dendritic cells (DCs) that are key regulators in pathogen sensing. He also cooperates in projects regarding macrophages, NK cells, circulating tumor cells, and multifunctional killer T cells and their role in regenerative medicine, cellular anti-cancer vaccines and patient stratification. Finally, together with the group of Prof. Jan van Hest, he aims to boost the field of artificial immunotherapy. 

Breaking boundaries and bridging disciplines is the key challenge to revolutionize our understanding of immunoengineering and to increase the impact on healthcare.


Jurjen Tel obtained a Bachelor's degree in Applied Sciences in the field of Medical Microbiology at the NHL University of Applied Sciences (Leeuwarden, The Netherlands) in 2005. He continued his studies at the University of Groningen (RUG, The Netherlands) where he obtained his Master of Science degree in Medical Biology in 2007. He continued with PhD research in the department of Tumor Immunology of prof. Carl Figdor (Radboudumc Nijmegen, The Netherlands) under supervision of Prof. Jolanda de Vries. In 2013, he graduated cum laude with his thesis 'Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells & Immunotherapy of Cancer'. Based on his findings he applied for a NWO-Veni grant, hypothesizing that there is a deeper layer of functional heterogeneity in the plasmacytoid dendritic cell population. The grant, awarded in 2013, allowed him to start a collaboration with Prof. Wilhelm Huck (Dept. Physical Organic Chemistry at Radboud University Nijmegen (The Netherlands) as a postdoctoral fellow, to exploit droplet-based microfluidics to probe this observed cellular heterogeneity. In 2016, he was appointed assistant professor at Eindhoven University of Technology to establish a new research group on Immunoengineering.

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