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Dr. Willem W. Overwijk

Dr. Willem W. Overwijk

Regular Member

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology

Dr. Willem Overwijk is a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology. The mission of his Cancer Vaccine Laboratory is to understand the interplay between cancer and the immune system, and to translate this understanding into new immune-based cancer therapies. Dr. Overwijk received his MS in Medical Biology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, then trained at the Surgery Branch, National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD and received his PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the George Washington University in Washington, DC. He completed his postgraduate training at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam in 2004 and has since run his research lab at MD Anderson Cancer Center. He holds multiple NIH and industry grants. Dr. Overwijk is the winner of several awards including the 2013 MD Anderson Faculty Scholar Award and the 2013 Emil Frei III Award for Excellence in Translational Research.

Dr. Overwijk’s group focuses on the interaction between the immune system and cancer, and translating these findings into novel cancer immunotherapies, in particular cancer vaccines. His work emphasizes combination therapy with immunomodulators (vaccines, TLR agonists, adoptive T cell transfer, cytokines and antibodies including CTLA-4/PD-1 checkpoint blockade) and other modalities (small molecules such as inhibitors of mutant BRAF, VEGF, STAT3 and iNOS). The Overwijk lab develops and tests these therapies in animal models and then translates them into clinical trials, several of which are ongoing at this time.




MDACC Faculty

Program Affiliation:

Program in Immunology

Contact Information

Phone: 713.563.5294


Office: MDA SCR2.3027 (Unit 904)

Title: Associate Professor


Ph.D. - George Washington University - 2000