René Bernards is a professor of molecular carcinogenesis at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam. His laboratory uses functional genomic approaches to find vulnerabilities of cancers that can be exploited therapeutically. His laboratory identified the now FDA approved combination of a BRAF inhibitor and an EGFR inhibitor as effective for the treatment of BRAF mutant colon cancer. He also developed the first clinically used gene expression test for early breast cancer prognosis: MammaPrint, which has helped over 150,000 women in making the right treatment decision. His current work focusses on exploiting senescence for the treatment of cancer.
Amongst his honors are the Pezcoller Foundation award, the Ernst Bertner Award for Cancer Research from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and the ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award. He is also a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a fellow of the AACR Academy.