Hans Clevers, MD, PhD

Hans Clevers, MD, PhD
Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Hubrecht Institute, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Hans Clevers, MD, PhD | Class of 2014

Much of what we know about intestinal physiology and cancer can be attributed to the work of Dr. Clevers and his laboratory. His group first studied normal intestine behavior in normal physiological states. During these studies, the group cloned the transcription factor TCF1, which has since been characterized to be a vital component in the Wnt signaling pathway. Next, Dr. Clevers demonstrated the link between Wnt signaling and adult stem cell biology by showing that TCF4 gene disruption leads to the abolition of small intestine crypts, while targeted knockout of the TCF1 gene severely disables the stem cell compartment of the thymus. At the same time (and with Bert Vogelstein) he showed that activating Wnt mutations underly colon cancer.

Dr. Clevers was the first to identify stem cells in the intestine and is an authority on cell biology and regenerative therapy. He has been able to grow “mini-intestines” from stem cells, an essential first step toward regenerative medicine. He has been instrumental in establishing a new foundation that will test anti-cancer medicines on living tissues derived from tumors and cultured as mini-organs (organoids). This research is anticipated to lead to the development of a variety of novel drugs capable of being utilized to specifically target the unique genetics of an individual patient’s tumor, technology that holds great promise for the future of precision cancer medicine.

Career Highlights

​2013  Breakthrough Prize in the Life Sciences
2013-2016  Board of Directors, AACR
2012  Heineken Prize for Medicine, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences
2012  Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion
2012  Elected Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
2012  Léopold Griffuel Prize, Association pour la Recherche sur le Cancer
2011  Kolff Prize
2009  Dutch Cancer Society Award
2005  Katherine Berkan Judd Award, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
2004  Chevalier, Legion of Honor (France)
2004  Prix Louis-Jeantet de médecine, Fondation Louis-Jeantet
2001  Spinoza Award
2000  Elected Member, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences
1985  PhD, University of Utrecht
1984  MD, University of Utrecht