Faculty Educator of the Month: June 2012

Willem W. Overwijk, Ph.D.

Willem W. Overwijk, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology, has been named the June 2012 Faculty Educator of the Month.

Over the past several years, Dr. Overwijk has been a key contributor to the training of fellows in the Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology. Specifically, since 2006, he has been a Lecturer for the Melanoma Training Program for Clinical Fellows. Also, since 2008, he has been a Lecturer for the Immunology 1 course. Finally, since last year, Dr. Overwijk has been a Lecturer for the Cytokines and Immune Signaling course.

In addition to his classroom duties at MD Anderson, Dr. Overwijk was an Instructor for the Seminar in Experimental Pathology at The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston (GSBS) in 2007. Furthermore, he has been Organizer of the MD Anderson Immunotherapy Joint Journal Club for the Center of Cancer Immunology Research since 2006.

Dr. Overwijk, PhotoDr. Overwijk also has had a great deal of experience in supervising students and trainees at MD Anderson and the GSBS. In particular, he has served on 10 examining committees, 8 supervisory committees, 8 graduate committees, and 1 advisory committee. In addition, he has been an advisor for seven postdoctoral fellows, supervisor for three graduate students, and mentor for one graduate student.

Outside MD Anderson and the GSBS, Dr. Overwijk was an M.S. supervisor for three graduate students, Howard Hughes Advisor for two postdoctoral research fellows, and Ph.D. advisor for one graduate student. Also, he has spoken at numerous meetings and conferences throughout North America and Europe.

Dr. Overwijk received his Ph.D. degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from The George Washington University in 2000. While pursuing his Ph.D., Dr. Overwijk served as an Adjunct Investigator in the Surgery Branch at the National Cancer Institute. Afterward, he completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Immunology at The Netherlands Cancer Institute (2001-2004), during which time he received The Netherlands National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award.

In 2004, Dr. Overwijk came to MD Anderson when he was named an Assistant Professor in the Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology. He was promoted to his current position of Associate Professor in 2010.

Currently, Dr. Overwijk is active in several MD Anderson committees, including the Faculty Focus Group on the design and content of the new Junior Faculty Development Program Series, Immunology Program Steering Committee, and Faculty Focus Group on the position of basic science faculty in clinical departments. He has also served on the Faculty Achievement Award Selection Committee.

Since coming to MD Anderson, Dr. Overwijk has been the principal investigator, the project leader, a co-investigator, or a collaborator for 13 funded research projects. Additionally, he has been a grant reviewer multiple times, and he currently is a reviewer for National Institutes of Health Challenge Grants and the Italian Association for Cancer Research. This year, he was elected as a member of the Scientific Programs Committee of the international Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer.

At present, Dr. Overwijk is also a reviewer for eight journals. Over the course of his training and professional career, he has authored more than 40 articles published in peer-reviewed journals, 7 invited articles, and 4 book chapters.

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