Centre for Cancer Biomarkers CCBIO

CCBIO SAB (Scientific Advisory Board)

The CCBIO Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) consists of professors Carl-Henrik Heldin, Bruce Zetter and Ate van der Zee, all three being internationally leading researchers in CCBIO-relevant fields.

Group photo of Ate Van der Zee, Carl-Henrik Heldin and Bruce Zetter.
Ingvild Melien

Short bios of each SAB representative can be found at the bottom of this page.

The SAB’s mandate is to give the center director and center staff advice on science and scientifically relevant matters. The SAB convenes once a year for a full day meeting with the CCBIO PIs and associate investigators, mostly following the CCBIO Annual Symposium. The SAB’s feedback has been of great inspiration and utility to CCBIO and for every SAB meeting, CCBIO provides the SAB a report on the response to their recommendations.

In their 2018 report, the SAB stated that CCBIO has done an outstanding job of building the faculty, leadership, infrastructure, research, clinical trials, and education programs necessary for a true center of excellence. The SAB also stated that after a successful completion of the first half of the funding period and a very positive mid-term evaluation, CCBIO is now in a good position to take on additional challenges for the second funding period. The SAB’s overarching recommendation was for CCBIO to narrow its priorities, focusing on what CCBIO should deliver at the end of its funding cycle in 2023, as well as how to position itself for the future beyond 2023.

CCBIO was encouraged to continue its inclusion of young faculty to improve its prospects for the future, including an improved gender balance at the senior level. The SAB also stated that CCBIO’s strategy of recruiting adjunct international researchers should be continued and widened, focusing specifically on recruiting bioinformaticians to affiliated positions, and to accelerate the adoption of bioinformatics and other tools to process big data into CCBIO’s discovery, validation and clinical implementation of novel biomarkers.

The SAB characterized the discovery of new biomarkers as one of CCBIO’s major strengths and recommends incorporating its biomarkers even more strongly into clinical trials in order to maximize utility for society. It also acclaimed CCBIO’s emphasis on liquid biomarkers and encouraged CCBIO to focus more intently on the validation and clinical adoption of a subset of these biomarkers. The increase in the number of clinical trials performed within the CCBIO context was acclaimed by the SAB, and CCBIO was recommended to contribute towards improvements of the routine biomarker collection infrastructure in its vicinity. CCBIO’s industry interactions is seen by the SAB as a strong basis for further development as well as recruitment of industry-associated advisors or adjunct faculty.

The SAB lauds CCBIO’s effort within societal projects (ethics, economics, and priorities related to novel cancer biomarkers) for working with the outside community through its education and outreach programs. It characterized the inclusion of ELSA lectures at the Symposium as a great success as it stimulated much thinking and discussion on these topics.

Short bio,  Heldin

Carl-Henrik Heldin is the chairman of CCBIO’s SAB and is professor and director at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Uppsala University, and chairman of the Nobel Foundation. 

Professor Heldin was born in 1952 and obtained a PhD degree in medical and physiological chemistry in 1980 at the University of Uppsala, where he continued to work until 1985 in a position sponsored by the Swedish Cancer Society. Since 1986 he has been the branch director of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Uppsala, Sweden, and since 1992 also professor in molecular cell biology at Uppsala University. Professor Heldin is a member of several learned societies, including the European Molecular Biology Organization, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and Academia Europea, and he is an honorary doctor at the universities of Patras, Helsinki, Turku and Heidelberg.

He serves or has served on the scientific advisory boards for several companies and academic institutions, including the German Cancer Center, Heidelberg, the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry, Martinsried, the European Institute for Oncology, Milan, and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg and now also CCBIO. Professor Heldin was vice president of the European Research Council until 2014 and is currently an associate editor for the journals Molecular Biology of the Cell, Genes to Cells and Growth Factors.

Professor Heldin has received several scientific awards, including the Prix Antoine Lacassagne (1989), K. Fernströms Large Medical Prize (1993) and the Pezcoller-American Association for Cancer Research Award (2002).

Short bio, van der Zee

Ate van der Zee is professor of gynecological oncology and vice chair of the Board of Directors at the University Medical Center Groningen. Professor van der Zee was born in 1960 and obtained a PhD focused on targeted gynecologic oncology from the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the University of Groningen in 1994, where he has also been head of the Department of Gynecologic Oncology.

Professor Van der Zee serves and has served on various national and international advisory and program committees, including the Dutch Cancer Society, NCRN UK, IGCS, and ESGO. He is senior editor of the International Journal of Gynecological Cancer and leads a world-wide consortium (GROINSS-V-II) that performs landmark clinical studies in vulvar cancer. Professor Van der Zee is past president of the European Society for Gynecologic Oncology (2009 – 2011) and past president of the Dutch Working Party for Gynecologic Oncology. Further, he has recently initiated and established a managed clinical network for ovarian cancer for all hospitals in the north-east of the Netherlands, in which gynecologists and medical oncologists collaborate to improve the care for ovarian cancer patients and which forms a unique platform for translational research.

Professor Van der Zee combines his management position with clinical research, performing surgery in gynecological oncology, seeing patients during consulting hours, academic research and mentoring PhD students.

Short bio, Zetter

Bruce Zetter is the Charles Nowiszewski Professor of Cancer Biology at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA, USA. Professor Zetter was born in 1946 and obtained his PhD from the University of Rhode Island in 1974. He has been vice president of research and chief scientific officer at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Professor Zetter is frequently sought as an advisor on science and business practice to industry executives and scientists. He has served as consultant or scientific advisory board member to more than 30 biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, venture firms and investment firms and academic institutions. Further, he also serves on several grant review boards for public agencies such as the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society, and currently also serves on the editorial board of 8 peer-reviewed journals. In addition, he is often called on as an expert witness in court cases involving health and biotechnology.

As a frequent lecturer, he has given over 300 lectures to universities, conferences and businesses. He has also won numerous national and international awards for his work in the field of cancer research including a Faculty Research Award from the American Cancer Society and the prestigious MERIT award from the US National Cancer Institute and a Creativity Award from the Prostate Cancer Foundation. He has also received three teaching awards from the students at Harvard Medical School for excellence as a teacher and as a course director.