Areas of expertise

Paul Coffer studied Biochemistry at Oxford University.  In 1991 he obtained his PhD from the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in London, UK. Here, in the lab of Prof. James Woodgett, he identified Protein Kinase B (PKB/c-akt), a novel player in intracellular signal transduction. He subsequently relocated to the Hubrecht Institute in Utrecht, The Netherlands. This postdoctoral research was involved in investigating the mechanisms by which hematopoietic cytokines can regulate gene expression through transcription factor phosphorylation. Hereafter he moved to the Department of Respiratory Medicine at the University Medical Centre Utrecht to initiate his own research group. During this period, work focused on studying the role of intracellular signal transduction pathways in regulating both the production and function of leukocytes. In 2005 Paul Coffer was appointed Professor of Pediatric Immunology at the University Medical Centre Utrecht and moved to the Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital where he worked within the Department of Immunology. Here research was expanded to include study not only of hematopoietic stem cell function, but also mesenchymal stem cells. Furthermore, a new research line investigating the control of regulatory T cell (Treg) function was initiated. In 2011 he moved to the Department of Cell Biology at the University Medical Center Utrecht where he was appointed Professor of Stem Cell Biology. Current work in his research group is focused on applying this fundamental research to the study of cancer, autoimmunity and regenerative medicine. From 2013-2014 worked at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (New York, USA) as a visiting professor in the Rudensky Lab. From 2016 the Coffer Lab relocated to the Regenerative Medicine Center Utrecht where work continues to understand transcriptional regulation in cell biology and disease.


Research program / group

Research in the Coffer Lab focuses on understanding transcriptional control of cell fate decisions. This is placed in the context of stem cell biology, immunology and cancer. Molecular and cell biological techniques are utilized in vitro and in vivo forming a ‘translatable’ research program with close connection to clinical collaborators. Specific research questions that are currently being addressed include:

  1. Evaluating the role of the transcription factor SOX4 in educating the mammary tumor niche
  2. Understanding the regulation of autophagy by the FOXO family of transcription factors
  3. Understanding the relevance of the transcription factor FOXP1 in neurogenesis
  4. Targeting deregulated T cell metabolism in autoimmune disease
  5. Epigentic regulation of T cell transcription in health and disease
  6. Transcriptional regulation by protein kinase B (c-akt) signaling
  7. Therapeutic use of mesenchymal stem cell-derived exosomes

See for more details


Group members

  • Cornelieke Pals - Lab Manager
  • Dr. Koen Braat - Senior Lecturer
  • Dr. Magdalena Lorenowicz - Senior Scientist
  • Dr. Jorg van Loosdregt - Senior Scientist
  • Dr. Guy Roukens - Senior Postdoc
  • Dr. Enric Mocholi - Senior Postdoc
  • Dr. Bas Vastert - Clinical Scientist
  • Ana-Rita Lourenco - PhD student
  • Luca Braciolli - PhD student
  • Janneke Peeters - PhD student
  • Lucas Picavet - PhD student
  • Simona Antonova - PhD student
  • Cindy Frederiks - Technician
  • Sandra Coenen - Technician

Key publications

  • Van Loosdregt J, Fleskens V, Fu J, Brenkman AB, Bekker CP, Pals CE, Meerding J, Berkers CR, Barbi J, Gröne A, Sijts AJ, Maurice MM, Kalkhoven E, Prakken BJ, Ovaa H, Pan F, Zaiss DM, Coffer PJ. Stabilization of the transcription factor Foxp3 by the deubiquitinase USP7 increases Treg-cell-suppressive capacity. Immunity. 2013 Aug 22;39(2):259-71.
  • Van Loosdregt J, Fleskens V, Tiemessen MM, Mokry M, van Boxtel R, Meerding J, Pals CE, Kurek D, Baert MR, Delemarre EM, Gröne A, Koerkamp MJ, Sijts AJ, Nieuwenhuis EE, Maurice MM, van Es JH, Ten Berge D, Holstege FC, Staal FJ, Zaiss DM, Prakken BJ, Coffer PJ. Canonical Wnt signaling negatively modulates regulatory T cell function. Immunity. 2013 Aug 22;39(2):298-310.
  • Van der Vos KE, Eliasson P, Proikas-Cezanne T, Vervoort SJ, van Boxtel R, Putker M, van Zutphen IJ, Mauthe M, Zellmer S, Pals C, Verhagen LP, Groot Koerkamp MJ, Braat AK, Dansen TB, Holstege FC, Gebhardt R, Burgering BM, Coffer PJ. Modulation of glutamine metabolism by the PI(3)K-PKB-FOXO network regulates autophagy. Nat Cell Biol. 2012 Aug;14(8):829-37.
  • Buitenhuis M, van der Linden E, Ulfman LH, Hofhuis FM, Bierings MB, Coffer PJ. Protein kinase B (PKB/c-akt) regulates homing of hematopoietic progenitors through modulation of  their adhesive and migratory properties. Blood. 2010 Sep 30;116(13):2373-84.
  • Burgering BM, Coffer PJ. Protein kinase B (c-Akt) in phosphatidylinositol-3-OH kinase signal transduction. Nature. 1995 Aug 17;376(6541):599-602.


Link to full list of publications

More contact information

Visiting address:
Regenerative medicine center
Uppsalalaan 6
3584CT Utrecht
The Netherlands

Wieke van der Kuijl en Betty Hartgring
+31 88 75 56551

Detailed cv

Soon available