On the interface between chemistry and immunology

Dr. Sander van Kasteren

The research of my group focuses on developing new chemical tricks to study and manipulate the immune system. We are particularly interested in the field of therapeutic cancer vaccination: where we try to harness a patient's own immune system to fight off an existing tumour. To achieve this, we make new compounds and test these in model vaccines. We also study the biochemical changes our compounds induce in great detail. The techniques we use are a combination of organic synthesis, cell biology and immunology.





  1. van Elsland, D.M., E. Bos, W. de Boer, H.S. Overkleeft, A.J. Koster, S.I. van Kasteren, "Detection of bioorthogonal groups by correlative light and electron microscopy allows imaging of degraded bacteria in phagocytes", Chem. Sci., vol. 7, issue 1, pp. 752 - 758, 2016. DOI: 10.1039/C5SC02905H
  2. Pawlak, J.B., B.J. Hos, M.J. van de Graaff, O.A. Megantari, N. Meeuwenoord, H.S. Overkleeft, D.V. Filippov, F. Ossendorp, et al., "The Optimization of Bioorthogonal Epitope Ligation within MHC-I Complexes", ACS Chemical Biology, vol. 11, issue 11, pp. 3172 - 3178, 11/2016. DOI: 10.1021/acschembio.6b00498
  3. Pawlak, J.B., G.P.P. Gential, T.J. Ruckwardt, J.S. Bremmers, N.J. Meeuwenoord, F.A. Ossendorp, H.S. Overkleeft, D.V. Filippov, et al., "Bioorthogonal Deprotection on the Dendritic Cell Surface for Chemical Control of Antigen Cross-Presentation", Angewandte Chemie International Edition, vol. 54, issue 19, pp. 5628 - 5631, 05/2015. DOI: 10.1002/anie.201500301
  4. Willems, L.I., H.S. Overkleeft, S.I. van Kasteren, "Current Developments in Activity-Based Protein Profiling", Bioconjugate Chemistry, vol. 25, issue 7, pp. 1181 - 1191, 07/2014. DOI: 10.1021/bc500208y
  5. Ekkebus, R., S.I. van Kasteren, Y. Kulathu, A. Scholten, I. Berlin, P.P. Geurink, A. de Jong, S. Goerdayal, et al., "On Terminal Alkynes That Can React with Active-Site Cysteine Nucleophiles in Proteases", Journal of the American Chemical Society, vol. 135, no. 8, pp. 2867-2870, Feb 27, 2013. DOI: 10.1021/Ja309802n

Discover the world at Leiden University