Maria Themeli



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Personal profile


Adoptive immunotherapy with CAR T cells, iPSC-derived CAR T/NK

Research interests

  • Development and pre-clinical testing of CAR T cell therapies.
  • Development of novel strategies to improve efficacy and safety of CAR T cell therapy
  • Generation of functionally mature, histocompatible, “off-the-shelf” CAR T cells.

Maria Themeli is Assistant Professor at the department of Hematology at the Amsterdam UMC. Her group focuses on the treatment of malignancies with cellular immunotherapy, in particular chimeric antigen receptor engineered T cells (CAR T cells). The ultimate purpose of this group is to develop safe, effective, and affordable CAR T cell therapies for hematological malignancies as well as solid tumors. Towards this goal her group applies novel strategies, such as:  development of dual-targeting CAR T, optimizing co-stimulation, development of new CAR designs, and engineering induced pluripotent stem cells as a source of CAR T cells.


Dr Themeli studied Medicine in the University of Patras in Greece. After graduating, she did her PhD at the Bone Marrow Transplantation laboratory in the University of Patras Medical School under the supervision of Prof. Alexandros Spyridonidis. During this period she studied the long-term biological consequences of GvHD in epithelial tissues after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation. After completing her PhD training Themeli joined the lab of Dr Michel Sadelain at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. There she trained in the design and development of chimeric antigen receptor-engineered T cells (CAR T) and reported for the first time the use of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) as an off-the-shelf source of therapeutic CAR T cells. In 2015 Themeli received a Marie-Curie Individual Fellowship from the European Commission and joined the department of Hematology at Amsterdam UMC-location VUmc, where in 2017 she became Assistant Professor. Themeli has received several prestigious fellowships and awards such as: Clinical Scholars in Biomedical Research Fellowship at MSKCC, NYSCF Druckenmiller fellowship, ASH/EHA TRTH Career development award, Marie Curie individual fellowship from the European Commission and Innovation award from Argo-the Brussels Hellenic Network.


  • Assistant Professor at the department of Hematology at the Amsterdam UMC
  • Member of the scientific organizing committee of the European CAR T meeting
  • Co-chair of the EATRIS ATMP Platform

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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