Leila Akkari

Junior Group Leader
Netherlands Cancer Institute

We are located on B3 of the NKI-AvL Cancer Center, and our lab had an open plan organization to promote interactions and collaborations between the Akkari group members but also with members from other research groups we are sharing the floor with. Our research combines experimental and mouse model tools. We use microscopy, immunohistochemistry and image analysis, cell culture, molecular biology and in vivo cancer models on a regular basis. We also closely collaborate with the VU university to obtain patient samples. As part of Netherlands Cancer Institute, we have access to state-of-the-art facilities available to us 24/7.


The Lab tools:

- Multiple FACS sorters and Flow cytometers for analyses

Benchtop Octodissociator with heaters for tumor preparation in ML-II labs 

- Confocal and live microscopes

- Transcriptomics platforms for next generation sequencing

- Access to mouse facilities and trainings

- Full computer workstations and computing facilities


About Leila Akkari

I trained in cellular and molecular biology during my BA at the University of Montpellier in France, and graduated in 2004 before performing my Master in oncology and immunology between Montpellier and Manchester (England).

I then came back to Montpellier to perform my PhD in health sciences in the laboratory of Dr Ula Hibner, at the IGMM CNRS, during which I studied the effects of HCV viral proteins on cancer initiation through alteration of hepatocyte polarity and cell shape. This was my first encounter on how tumor-extrinsic factors can favor pre-neoplastic transformation.

Once my PhD finished, I wanted to develop my focus in the tumor microenvironment field, in rare tumors, and I joined Prof. Johanna Joyce's laboratory at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NYC. During this time, I began to work with mouse models of brain and pancreatic cancer, primarily focusing on tumor associated macrophages and their pro-tumorigenic roles in multiple tumor microenvironment. In 2017, I became a Junior Group Leader at the NKI.





in Cancer Biology and Genetics
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center,
New York City, USA and Ludwig cancer center, Lausanne, Switzerland.



in Cell Biology 
University of Sciences and Technics of Montpellier 2, France 



in Molecular and Cellular Biology
University of Sciences and Technics of Montpellier, France 


Positions and Employment


Jan. 2017 -

Assistant Professor

in Department of Immunology, Netherland Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Postdoctoral Research Fellow

in Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York City
Laboratory of Dr. Johanna A. Joyce


PhD Student

Institute of Molecular Genetics of Montpellier, CNRS (French National Research Center) 
Laboratory of Dr. Urszula Hibner


Erasmus Free Mover Fellow

University of Manchester, England
Laboratory of Pr. Richard Grencis



in Institute of Molecular Genetics of Montpellier, CNRS, France
Laboratory of Dr. Robert Hipskind


My group is interested in the microenvironment-mediated mechanisms of tumor maintenance and therapeutic resistance to conventional therapy in brain and liver malignancies. In particular, we investigate the acquired resistance mechanisms resulting from alterations in the activation and recruitment of myeloid cells and their mediators in response to standard of care treatment. Our research aims to identify the vulnerabilities in the cancer cell/ stromal compartment heterotypic communication in solid tumors that may be targeted therapeutically.

Honors and Awards



5 year Young Investigator Grant, Bas Mulder Award. KWF (Dutch Cancer Society)


Post-doctoral fellowship grant, American Brain Tumor Association


Travel award to attend the Eighth General Meeting of the International Proteolysis Society (IPS) in Cape Town, South Africa


2 year fellowship grant awarded by the Brain Tumor Center, MSKCC, New York City


Travel award to attend the Seventh General Meeting of the International Proteolysis Society (IPS) in San Diego, CA, USA


Young Investigator travel award to attend the EASL meeting (European Association for the study of the Liver) in Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Best poster award at the GSO meeting (Canceropole Grand-Sud Ouest) in Toulouse, France


1 year Ph.D. fellowship, ARC (Association for Cancer Research), France


Experimentation animale Niveau 1. 2 week training (80hrs)


3 year Ph.D. fellowship, Ministry of Education and Research, France


6 month Erasmus exchange program fellowship