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Meet the butterflies

The 28 butterfly doctoral students.

All 28 international Butterfly PhDs have been appointed and come from geographically diverse backgrounds. You can read more about them below.

Please note this page is under construction. We are in the process of adding a concise biography for each student to enhance and complete their respective profiles.


Research area 1 – Brain Tumors


Julie Wijns

Nationality: Belgium

Group: Kool Group

Project: R-loops in pediatric brain tumors: from cause to cure?



Lucia Bracesco

Nationality: Italy

Group: Artegiani Group

Project: Elucidating role of BAP1 in fibrolamellar carcinoma


 Antonio Cobos

 Nationality: Spain

 Group: Hulleman Group

 Project: Immunomonitoring of paediatric brain tumors.


Doga Yagiz Yurddas

Nationality: Turkey

Group: Tissing Group

Project: Improving Imaging techniques for childhood craniopharyngioma to better predict hypothalamic outcome


Akshaya Lakshmi Krishnamoorthy

Nationality: India

Group: Van Vuurden Group

Project: Crossing Barriers for local immune modulation in diffuse midline glioma


Research area 2 – Haematology Malignancies 


Céline Debou

Nationality: Belgium

Group: den Boer Group

Project: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia, leukemic niche, oncogenomics


Bexultan Kazybay

Nationality: Kazakhstan

Group: Heidenreich/Vormoor Group

Project: The oesteochondrial niche: how acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells reshape skeletal stem cell differentiation to create a supportive and protective niche?


Miguel Martins

Nationality: Portugal

Group: Pieters Group

Project: Therapeutic drug monitoring and developing new therapies for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia based upon genetic abnormalities, immunotherapeutic targets


Eva Sofie Baum

Nationality: Germany

Group: van Leeuwen  Group

Project:Metabolic targeting of T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia to identify more effective, less toxic treatment options


Research area 3 – Solid Tumors


Rugile Januskeviciute

Nationality: Lithuania

Group: Drost Group

Project: Characterization of the immune microenvironment of rhabdomyosarcoma for the development of immunotherapy


Camilla Perosa

Nationality: Italy

Group:  Looijenga  Group

Project: A Normal and aberrant germ cell development


Beatrice Piotto

Nationality: Italy

Group: Molenaar Group

Project: A game of hide and seek: targeting neuroblastoma’s escape from immunotherapy


Fenja Fahrig

Nationality: Germany

Group: Molenaar Group

Project: Targeting aberrant ATRX to identify new treatment options for Neuroblastoma



Hannah Kunstek

Nationality: Croatia

Group: Nierkens Group

Project: Immune profiling in pediatric cancer


Aleksandra Letunovska

Nationality: The United Kingdom

Group: van Leeuwen  Group

Project: ALiquid biopsies in neuroblastoma, focus on cell free DNA and messenger RNA


Amirhossein Masroor

Nationality: Iran

Group: van den Heuvel-Eibrink Group

Project: Genetic susceptibility and prevention of CP-induced hearing loss in childhood cancer patients


Mianyong Ding

Nationality: China

Group:van den Heuvel-Eibrink/Janssens Group

Project: AI to enhance RT planning for children with renal tumors


Leonor de Sousa Teles

Nationality: Portugal

Group: van Noesel Group

Project:Targeting the SSR2A receptor with [68]Ga-SATO in NBL patients


Alice Larsson

Nationality: Sweden

Group: Hoeijmakers/Vermeij Group


Project: The use of organotypic tissue slices for assessing prevention against treatment-induced side-effects via nutritional preconditioning interventions


Research area 4 – Quality of Life


Marnik Paeps

Nationality: Belgium

Group: Grootenhuis Group

Project: Psychosocial risk screening across the trajectory of childhood cancer treatment


Franziska Oberhammer

Nationality: Italy

Group: Kuiper Group

Project: Tumor-based molecular signatures of childhood cancer predisposition


Jessica Beamish

Nationality: Ireland

Group: Partanen Group

Project: Machine learning approaches to improve prediction of neuropsychological outcome in pediatric cancer groups


Research area 5 – New Technologies


Patrycja Fryzik

Nationality: Poland

Group: Belderbos Group

Project: Clonal evolution and therapeutic vulnerability of UBTF-mutated MDS/AML


Elisabetta Liuzzi

Nationality: Italy

Group: Clevers Group

Project:The transforming mechanism of Small Round Cell sarcomas


Roula Farag

Nationality: Canada

Group: Kemmeren Group

Project: Untangling somatic structural variation in pediatric cancer


Elizaveta Kulaeva

Nationality: Russia

Group: van Boxtel Group

Project: Tracking the origin of childhood cancer


Martina Jovancheva

Nationality: North Macedonia

Group: van Heesch Group

Project: Functional characterization of microproteins in pediatric cancers


Uddeshya Pandey

Nationality: India

Group: Rios Group

Project: Advancing cellular immunotherapies for Diffuse Midline Glioma using BEHAV3D, a multi-omics 3D image-based platform