Established in 1991 to promote European cancer clinical research, the EORTC Fellowship Programme encourages physicians, statisticians and scientists from all over the world to stay for up to three years at EORTC headquarters in Brussels. It offers opportunities to learn the principles of cancer clinical research by being attached to a specific EORTC group, a medical or a methodological research programme in the Belgian capital. It is a unique way to absorb all aspects of creating, activating and bringing cancer clinical research projects to maturity, from the inside.
The EORTC Fellowship programme does not just provide training in clinical research methodology for physicians and other interested professionals. It is also a chance to use EORTC’s rich databases to work on publications that will benefit EORTC and the individual fellows. EORTC fellows acquire a high level of expertise in clinical research methodology which can contribute to future career success. In addition, all research work is performed internationally, which promotes a rapid spread of clinical trial results.
Support for the EORTC Fellowship Programme comes from several sources, and more than 170 fellowships covering 37 countries have been awarded.
Jean-Jacques Stelmes (Luxemburg)
Dr. Jean-Jacques Stelmes joined the EORTC Headquarters in March 2017 as a medical fellow. During his fellowship the EORTC HQ offers young scientists in radiation oncology the possibility of being involved in radiotherapy quality assurance (RTQA) for clinical trials. RTQA ensures the consistency of prescription and delivery of radiotherapy treatment for patients, so that optimal treatment with less expected toxicity can be achieved.
Prior to joining the EORTC, Dr. Stelmes was an Radiation Oncology Resident in the Radiotherapy Department at the University Hospital of Basel, Switzerland. He received his Master in medicine from the University Pierre et Marie Curie – UPMC (PARIS 6). Dr. Stelmes is member of the SRO (Swiss Society for Radiation Oncology) DEGRO (German Society for Radiation Oncology) and ESTRO (European Society for Radiotherapy & Oncology).
At the EORTC, Jean-Jacques will work on retrospective evaluation of radiotherapy plans within the context of the EORTC 62092-22092 (STRASS) trial. He will also assist external experts working on prospective RTQA projects such as the EORTC 1420 (Best of) trial and participate in the Global Harmonisation Group (GHG) in the elaboration of harmonized IMRT credentialing guideslines.
Anouk Neven (Luxemburg)
Anouk Neven joined the EORTC in March 2017. She earned her Master’s degree in Mathematics from Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium in 2012. After her master’s degree, she did a research year in statistics with applications in finance at the University of Luxembourg. Since September 2013, she has been teaching mathematics in a secondary school in Luxembourg.
Anouk joined the EORTC in March 2017 as a fellow in statistics to conduct the research project on “Methodology of the design of cancer clinical trials and the methodology component relating to the development and assessment of new designs for complex settings”.
Teresa de Rojas (Spain)
Dr. Teresa de Rojas comes to the EORTC from Madrid, Spain. She holds a Medical Degree obtained in 2010 at the Complutense University of Madrid, and a Specialty Training Degree in Pediatrics obtained in 2015 at the Children’s Hospital Niño Jesús, also in Madrid. She worked as a Clinical Fellow in Pediatric Oncology at the same hospital for one year, and was involved in the CNIO-HNJ Clinical Research Unit for Pediatric Phase I/II Clinical Trials. Since June 2015, she has also been a PhD candidate at Autonoma University in Madrid, where she is investigating ways to improve the treatment of pediatric CNS embryonal tumours.
Teresa joined the EORTC in February 2017 as Medical Research Fellow in the Children’s Leukemia Group. She will be involved in the “Long term ALL survivors outcome” project, among other projects in the field of childhood acute lymphoblastic and acute myelogenous leukemia.
Teresa’s fellowship is supported by FOCA (Fonds Cancer).
Maria Urbanowicz (Poland)
Dr. Maria Urbanowicz earned her MD degree from the University of Medical Sciences in Poznan, Poland in 2010. She did her residency in Pathology at the department of Pathology in the 12 de Octubre University Hospital in Madrid and became a specialist in May 2016. During the residency, she did an observership in a dermatopathology laboratory – Dermatopathologie Friedrichshafen in Germany. Between May and December, she worked as a pathologist in Severo Ochoa University Hospital and 12 de Octubre University Hospital in Madrid, focusing mainly on Gynecological Pathology and Gastrointestinal Pathology. In January 2017 she joined the EORTC as a fellow in Translational Research with an ESP-EORTC fellowship.
Els Genbrugge (Belgium)
Els is Belgian and holds a masters degree in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Antwerp. As she was fascinated by data analysis, she completed her education with an Advanced Master of Statistical Data Analysis degree at Ghent University.
She joined EORTC in 2016 for a fellowship that focuses on Brain Cancer research projects, in which she has the opportunity to use both skills to contribute to advancing knowledge. Her projects include a retrospective pooled analysis to evaluate whether concomitant use of anticoagulant, antidepressant or antidiabetic medication prolongs survival in newly-diagnosed glioblastoma patients. In parallel, she is working on a project evaluating the relationship between MGMT promoter methylation status and survival outcome, via meta-analysis in newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients. The objective is to redefine the MGMT cut-off supervised by overall survival, identifying a subgroup of patients with tumours that are “truly” methylated for MGMT and who therefore benefit significantly more from the standard of care therapy.
Samson Assele (Ethiopia)
Samson Yaekob Assele comes from Wolayta Sodo, Ethiopia. He joined the EORTC HQ in November 2015 after obtaining a Master of statistics degree with specialisation in biostatistics, with great distinction, from University of Hasselt, Belgium.
At EORTC, Samson has been taking part in a breast cancer survivorship project that aims to analyse four successive EORTC trials in early breast cancer (EBC) from 1986 to 2010, in order to study the influence of various prognostic factors on long-term outcomes after an isolated local relapse. He is also working on an IGCCCG2 initiative that aims at establishing a common electronic database – IGCCCG Update Data Warehouse – of metastatic GCC patients treated since 1990.
In the second year of his fellowship, Samson will continue working on the IGCCCG2 initiative project and will also be involved in several other collaborative projects with young investigators of the LUNG group.
Michal Kicinski (Poland)
Michal earned his Master of Science in Statistics, Specialisation Biostatistics, with Great Distinction from KU Leuven, Belgium, and his PhD in Science from Hasselt University, Belgium.
Michal gained extensive experience as a researcher at Hasselt University, conducting studies on the neurobehavioral effects of environmental pollution and providing statistical support in a number of biomedical studies. Besides his experience as an applied biostatistician, he conducted research on methods to detect publication bias in meta-analysis.
As an EORTC fellow in the Statistics department, Michal has been involved in a number of research projects including a study of the work and education situation of Hodgkin lymphoma survivors, a comparison of clinical outcomes of patients treated in and outside clinical trials, a comparison of quality-of-life indicators between patients treated in and outside clinical trials, a phase III melanoma trial comparing adjuvant Pembrolizumab with a placebo, an investigation of the prognostic value of oncogenic alterations in childhood T-ALL, an assessment of long-term outcomes of childhood ALL, and a study on methods to deal with crossover in the analysis of overall survival in clinical trials.
Frédéric Fiteni (France)
Dr. Frédéric Fiteni came to EORTC in November 2016. He earned his medical degree in medical oncology in 2011 from Besançon University, France. He specialised in breast, lung and gynecological cancers. In 2016, he earned a PhD in biostatistics/methodology from Besançon University. He worked on endpoints, surrogacy and health-related quality of life design in lung cancer clinical trials.
Frédéric joined EORTC as a medical research fellow in the EORTC Lung group. He will be involved in the PEARLS and SPLENDOUR trials, and in setting up a new trial in cutaneous lymphoma. He will also work on statistical analyses in substudies of the PETACC-3 and PETACC-2 trials.
Katherine Hartmann (USA)
Dr. Katherine Hartmann comes to the EORTC from the United States. She completed her PhD in genomics during the summer of 2016 at the Ohio State University. Kate joined the EORTC in September of 2016 as a Fulbright Fellow. Her work focuses on cancer evolution. She will complete her medical training at Ohio State upon returning to the U.S.
Marie Mesnil (France)
Dr. Marie Mesnil came to the EORTC in September 2016 from the Paris Descartes University, France, where she earned her PhD in law. After an undergraduate degree in biology (Pierre and Marie Curie University), Marie obtained a master’s degree in law (Sciences Po Paris) and then specialised in health law. She is particularly interested in the rights of patients.
At the EORTC, Marie’s fellowship is part of the survivorship program. Her work deals with legal issues relating to insurance problems faced by cancer survivors. It aims, in particular, to extend the French “right to be forgotten”, meaning that after a certain period of time, former cancer patients do not have to declare that they have had cancer when applying for loan-related insurance.
Emmanuelle Kempf (France)
Dr. Emmanuelle Kempf has a fellowship within EORTC Special projects, coordinated by Prof. Françoise Meunier. This one-year experience is part of a project initiated by Prof. Jean-Charles Soria of Villejuif, to write a book for a large audience about the contemporary history of cancer in Europe. The work is based on interviews performed with European pioneers, who initiated significant changes in the care of cancer patients. The issues addressed are as wide as possible and focus on biology, pharmacology, drug development, radiotherapy, surgery, psychology and public health.
Dr. Kempf qualified as a medical oncologist in Paris in 2016, after a residence in France and Spain. She graduated with a MSc degree in Ethics of clinical research in 2013 and a MSc degree in Comparative Effectiveness Research in 2016. She performed her internship at the Centre for Statistics in Medicine, Oxford. After her EORTC fellowship, Dr. Kempf will work in the Department of Medical Oncology at Henri Mondor Teaching Hospital, Paris.
Kim Aalders (The Netherlands)
Dr. Kim Aalders comes to EORTC from Utrecht, The Netherlands. Kim earned her medical degree from Utrecht University, The Netherlands and did her surgical residency at the Diakonessenhuis in Utrecht/Zeist. Since January 2014, she has also been a PhD candidate in the department of surgery at Diakonessenhuis, where she is investigating prognostic aspects of breast cancer.
Kim joined the EORTC in September 2015 as Medical Research Fellow in the EORTC Breast Cancer Group. Here she will primarily be involved in a new project which is a substudy of the MINDACT trial (Microarray In Node negative Disease may Avoid ChemoTherapy), dissecting the pathways of therapy resistance in early breast cancer.
She will also be involved in various aspects of other EORTC breast cancer trials including AMAROS (After Mapping of the Axilla: Radiotherapy Or Surgery?), the closed EORTC 10994-BCG P53 trial, and setting up the LORD trial (Exploring safety of avoiding aggressive treatment for low risk carcinoma that is confined to milk ducts of the breast, so called DCIS-Ductal Carcinoma in Situ).
Kim’s fellowship is supported by the EORTC Breast Cancer Group and the EORTC Cancer Research Fund.
Stefanie Broes (Belgium)
Stefanie Broes came to EORTC in September 2014 from the KU Leuven, Belgium, where she earned her Master of Biomedical Sciences, Magna cum Laude, and her Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences.
At EORTC, Stefanie will address novel models of partnerships focused on sharing clinical data and human samples. The main focus of her work will concern EORTC’s SPECTA, Screening Patients for Efficient Clinical Trial Access, and the opportunities for pan-European collaborations between industry, academia, regulatory agencies, patient groups and other major cancer organisations. Through this innovative approach, EORTC wants to take a leading role in redesigning the clinical trial landscape.