About iDNA

The institute for DiagNostic Accuracy (iDNA)

Our mission – Up to now, medical doctors have only been able, in most cases, to extend the lives of people diagnosed with lung cancer. This is because lung cancer is almost always diagnosed at a late stage where survival rates are very low: nine out of ten people diagnosed with a stage 4 lung cancer tumour will not be alive in five years. There have been big advancements in both medication and treatment in recent decades, but late stage diagnosis still means these advancements were mainly life-extending and not live-saving.

New opportunities

Now there is a chance for change. A new line of research brings real life-saving solutions within reach. After two decades of research, the NELSON Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial has shown that using a screening method based on Computed Tomography (CT) actually leads to reductions in mortality: 24% for men and up to 59% for women. CT is a medical imaging technology normally used in hospitals to diagnose patients who are presented with certain symptoms that provide a clear suspect in terms of disease. The NELSON study has shown that this technology can also be used as a preventive examination for the early detection of the disease, even though a patient may have no specific complaints. In this way, medical doctors can spot a tumour in an early stage when treatment can really save lives. When caught early, the stats actually reverse: nine out of ten people diagnosed will be alive after five years.

Just imagine what this innovative research could mean in practice. With 338,000 annual deaths in Europe alone, more than 81,000 lives could be saved yearly, which would make lung cancer screening the single most effective healthcare innovation in this area. Now is the time to bring this research into practice and to ensure that it is accessible to those who benefit. This is the mission of the institute for DiagNostic Accuracy (iDNA). We are determined to make it happen.

OUR TEAM

oudkerk@i-dna.org
+31 (0)50 211 03 48

Prof. M. Oudkerk, MD, PhD

Prof. Oudkerk is responsible for the Research & Development of iDNA.

He is professor of Radiology at the University of Groningen, Chief Scientific Officer of the Institute for Diagnostic Accuracy- iDNA (formerly of the Center of Medical Imaging NORTH EAST NETHERLANDS , NWO research Center of Exellence) and the principal investigator for Radiology of the NELSON lung cancer detection study, the Robinsca cardiovascular screening study and the 4Lungrun Horizon 2020 study. Founder and past president of the European Society of Cardiac Radiology and former Chairman of Radiology departments of DDHK Erasmus MC Rotterdam and University Medical Center Groningen. Prof. Oudkerk has a broad insight into new imaging modalities, algorithms and strategies. He is ranked as one the most influential researchers in Radiology in Europe (2019). For his research work he received prestigious grants such as EU Horizon 2020, ERC advanced grant, Royal Academy of Sciences of the Netherlands (KNAW), Ministry of Science and Technology of China (MOST), NWO, KWF, NKB grants etc.

He is lead investigator of the NELSON lung cancer detection study, the  ROBINSCA study for coronary disease detection, NELCIN B3 study in China focusing on lung cancer , coronary artery disease and pulmonary disease  in one imaging test. Prof. Oudkerk was invited as a member of the medical advisory board of Siemens AG Germany for development of the first continuous rotating spiral CT and has been part of this board until the development of the current volume multi-detector CT scanners pushing forward the need for higher temporal resolutions in CT scanning comparable with EBT. With his research team he initiated the field of CT coronary imaging; Prof. Oudkerk is inspiring many (inter-)national students to start their PhD research in his Institute, resulting in several PhD defenses per year.

Prof Oudkerk published more than 555 peer reviewed articles, is cited over 20,000 times with an H-index >74 (Scopus). Key publications in NEJM, Lancet, Thorax, Circulation, JACC, Eur Heart, Radiology, Lancet Oncology, etc.

Erik Jippes, PhD, MBA

jippes@i-dna.org
+31 (0)6 21 55 19 99

Erik Jippes, PhD, MBA

Erik Jippes is responsible for the day-to-day operation of iDNA.

Erik’s background working in a medical academic environment, and with medical imaging in particular, enables him to understand and act on the complexities in hospital environments. This is of great importance for implementing lung cancer screening programmes.

Erik has a Master of Business Administration and holds a PhD in social networks and innovation processes in healthcare. He worked for more than 14 years at a University Medical Center and was responsible for several large public–private partnerships, pre- and post-award project management for funding support (H2020, national and regional grants), and charity fundraising.

He was manager of several large-scale population-based early detection and screening trials in lung cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

In his spare time Erik likes to travel with his wife and three children, and he loves to play beach volleyball.

dvortsin@i-dna.org
+31 (0)6 24 21 71 13

Evgeni Dvortsin, MSc

Evgeni Dvortsin is a health economist and healthcare entrepreneur, responsible for leading the development and execution of the long-term strategies of iDNA.

His background as a founder of Asc Academics — a globally operating health economics and market access consultancy — provides an excellent knowledge foundation in cost-benefit analyses in healthcare. This is of the utmost importance for the implementation of lung cancer early detection and screening programs. In addition, Evgeni co-founded the General Practitioners Research Institute (GPRI), which aims to improve the lives of patients by facilitating participation in real world evidence generation studies.

Evgeni has a background as a pharmacist and pharmaceutical scientist at the University of Groningen, and, in his rare moments of spare time, he enjoys everything related to basketball.

chen@i-dna.org
 +31 (0)6 42 29 99 19

Jie Hui Chen, MBA

Jie Hui Chen is responsible for the strategic partnerships and relations with Asia. She is also responsible for the day-to-day operation for iDNA Asia.

Jie Hui is an entrepreneur who has more than 15 years of experience in bridging Asian and Dutch companies. She studied Asian Business Studies and obtained an MBA certificate from national Sun Yat Sen University in Taiwan. She is an expert in Chinese language and culture and has an extensive network within Asia. Since 2016, Jie Hui has been the liaison manager between hospitals in China and the Netherlands for several large-scale population-based early detection and screening studies in lung cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

Moreover, she has a personal motivation; her grandmother in China passed away from lung cancer. This inspires her to give her best every day for iDNA.

Jie Hui likes to travel and explore new cultures with her husband and two children.

Boudewijn H. Breens, MSc

breens@i-dna.org
+31 (0)6 20 30 50 50

Boudewijn H. Breens, MSc

Boudewijn Breens has over 15 years of experience in (non-dilutive and dilutive) financing private and public organizations active within the Life Sciences and Health sector (LSH). He is well-versed for creating and retain a durable impact, including implementing a clear long-term strategic focus. This is endorsed by his creativity, energy (and humor) and a proven business development track record in executing numerous projects throughout the broad spectrum of challenges within LSH.

He joined iDNA in 2019 with the ambition to set-up and implement the financial, strategic and business development activities within Europe and China. He is currently responsible for all biomaterial related topics within iDNA. Prior to iDNA, Boudewijn worked as a senior business developer within the Life Sciences and Health team of PNO Consultants. In the past he worked within the Corporate Finance and Capital Markets department of Fortis Bank, currently ABN AMRO. He supported the execution of a wide range of finance and strategic transactions in the (public and private) biotech sector within Europe and the USA. He previously also held several positions within Zilveren Kruis, a Dutch national health insurance company and PRA International, an international CRO. Solving financing and operational challenges were his main pillars.

After his education, he was an investment manager at BioPartner Start-Up ventures, a pre-seed financing boutique, investing in start-up companies within the Life Sciences sector in the Netherlands. Boudewijn Breens received his master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences at the VU in Amsterdam, with a main focus on Biomedical entrepreneurship, e.g. how to capitalize on an optimal R&D strategy by means of a successful IPO.

Sebastiaan Fuhler, MSc

fuhler@i-dna.org
+31 (0)6 27 31 30 02

Sebastiaan Fuhler, MSc

Sebastiaan Fuhler completed his Master of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Groningen and chose iDNA because he wanted to make academic discoveries and innovations available to society. His passion for medical sciences drives his ambition to make screening for lung cancer a reality. Sebastiaan uses his academic background and creativity in his role as consultant. He brings a healthy dose of humour to the work floor and has the ability to put things in a different perspective.

Xuanqi Pan

Xuanqi Pan, MSc

Xuanqi has a background as a medical doctor and health economist. She joined iDNA with the passion to accelerate the implementation of lung cancer screening, so as to facilitate the early detection of lung cancer, driving both clinical and societal benefits at a regional/national level.

She takes the role of HEOR Consultant at iDNA and is responsible for building cost-effectiveness and budget impact models for lung cancer screening, ultimately demonstrating its added value to various stakeholders, including policy makers, healthcare providers, and other involved parties.

Dianne Ramaker

Dianne Ramaker, MSc

Dianne Ramaker recently graduated from the University of Groningen, completing the Biomedical Sciences master with a Science, Business and Policy track. Her passion lies in solving problems by combining her medical background with the societal aspects that are linked to all medical healthcare issues.

At iDNA, Dianne will be doing this in the role of HEOR consultant, where she will develop economic models to support and accelerate the implementation of lung cancer screening, thereby enabling the early detection of lung cancer and possibly decreasing the disease burden of lung cancer. She brings humour to the work floor with an enterprising attitude and critical perspective.

Hilde ten Berge, MSc

Hilde ten Berge, MSc

Hilde ten Berge completed her Master of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Groningen. She graduated in both the specialized track Biology of Cancer and the Immune System as the Science, Business and Policy track. Her passion lies in improving the health perspectives of our society by contributing to the implementation process of new medical scientific discoveries.

Within iDNA Hilde is part of the HEOR team where she has a role as a consultant. In this function she will develop health economic models for lung cancer screening, aiming to support and accelerate the implementation of lung cancer screening.

Kees Hörchner, MSc

horchner@i-dna.org
+31 (0)6 22 69 83 42

Kees Hörchner, MSc

Kees Horchner is a financial advisor with extensive experience in the private financing of complex projects including healthcare, education, infrastructure, and real estate.

He has extensive work experience in over 40 countries, mainly in the EMEA region.

His specialties are within public–private partnerships, project finance, and hospital financing.

Barend van Lieshout, MSc

vanlieshout@i-dna.org
+31 (0)6 53 8558 86

Barend van Lieshout, MSc

Barend van Lieshout works on healthcare projects that involve business cases, investment decisions and the financing of healthcare institutions. He analyses projections regarding the financial future and provides management advice. All his projects start with a strategic and a market analysis.

Barend tends to dig deeper into the financial condition of the organization to ensure that the best approach is effectively implemented. Basically, it’s getting results making Barend very happy.

Daiwei Han, MD, PhD

Daiwei Han, MD, PhD

Daiwei has a background working as a clinical physician. He holds a PhD in lung cancer screening in the NELSON lung cancer detection study. He completed his MD/PhD dual doctoral degree at the University of Groningen. The passing away of his mother from lung cancer has motivated him to improve the early detection of lung cancer through scientific research.

As a research associate at iDNA, Daiwei is responsible for setting up, coordinating and supervising research projects related to the early detection of lung cancers.

Moreover, he has excellent skills for research collaboration. He has previously collaborated with the University of Oxford, the University of Heidelberg and a number of tech start-ups on lung cancer screening related research projects.

Daiwei has a multicultural background and speaks English, Chinese, Dutch and Finnish fluently.

Xiaofei Yang, msc

Xiaofei Yang, MSc

Xiaofei Yang has a background in medical imaging. He is a highly motivated Ph.D. student at the University of Groningen, currently working on his Ph.D. project focused on the association between low-dose CT assessment emphysema with lung nodule and lung cancer. At iDNA, Xiaofei Yang takes the role of a radiologist, focusing on the assessment of  emphysema. He is dedicated to validating artificial intelligence software and classification of emphysema on low-dose CT in the CLS project.

Beibei Jiang, msc

Beibei Jiang, MSc

At iDNA, Beibei Jiang is dedicated to computer-aided diagnoses in the 4-in-the-lung-run project (evaluate personalized strategies in recruitment, screening intervals, smoking cessation, and other co-morbidity preventing strategies). Beibei is a highly motivated Ph.D. candidate at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. She graduated from the Shanghai Jiaotong University in China and has a background in both medical and computer sciences. Her Ph.D. project is focused on the development and application of artificial intelligence on lung cancer screening in chest CT scans.  

Yifei Mao, msc

Yifei Mao, MSc

Yifei Mao is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Groningen. Her Ph.D. project is related to the management algorithms of screen-detected lung nodules in lung cancer screening. She graduated from Shantou University in China and has a background in both clinical medicine and radiology. After her master’s education, she was a radiologist in Shenzhen maternity and child healthcare hospital. At iDNA, Yifei Mao works on CT scan reading and lung nodule evaluation in the 4-in-the-lung-run project.

Robert Janz, PhD

After graduating as Theoretical Biologist at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands, Robert Janz has, professionally, mainly been active in the area of ICT and Academia. Since 1981 until May 2018 he has been employed at the Computing Centre (now named the Centre for Information Technology) of the University of Groningen. Starting as lecturer, then as Head of the Network Department, in 1995 he became the Chief Technical Officer of the Centre for Information Technology (CIT) of the University (6.000 staff and 27.000 students).

In 2005 he switched to the position of senior ICT consultant. In this position the focus was on initiating and implementing large multi-partner ICT projects with the University of Groningen as one of the leading partners, such as the ICT part of the LOFAR project (Radio Astronomy), the Groningen Internet Exchange, the Big Data project TARGET and the municipal wireless network of the city of Groningen. In the international context Robert has been active in implementing large ICT projects in the Higher Education and Research sector in Africa and Central Asia. The focus in these projects has gradually moved to developing sustainable NRENs in sub-Sahara Africa (Zambia, Mali and Mozambique), Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan), including the regional academic network CAREN, and Afghanistan.

Most recently Robert is working for iDNA in a large project to, virtually, merge globally distributed databases of chest CT scans and make this sensitive data available for a global group of medical researchers.

Janine ter Veld, BSc

Janine ter Veld obtained a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, after which she gained work experience as a Research & Development Chemist. At this point, she is following the master’s program Medical Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Groningen. Her interest in healthcare originated during her internship at Johnson & Johnson in Cape Town, South Africa, after which she chose to focus more on the pharmaceutical industry.

Currently, Janine fulfils the function of Intern Business Development at iDNA. Her specialization in ‘Science, Business and Policy’ reflects her increased interest in the business and financial aspects of healthcare. Janine brings good vibes to the work floor and can find a good balance between a critical working attitude and a nice casual chat. She is enthusiastic and hardworking and in her spare time she likes to do sports such as kickboxing.

Jasper Vermeulen, BSc

Jasper Vermeulen is a student following the research master’s program Biology with the track of Science, Business and Policy at the University of Groningen. At iDNA he is working on a country adaptation of a HEOR model, using this opportunity to get acquainted with health economics. With his country adaptation he hopes to contribute to get lung cancer screening programs implemented and making the world a healthier place.

Greta Piazza, BSc

Greta Piazza obtained a bachelor’s degree in biotechnology at the University of Milan. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Medical Pharmaceutical Sciences- Science, Business and Policy track at the University of Groningen. She joined iDNA as a business developer intern with the ambition to investigate and develop potentially new business models within the domain of biomaterials. She is eager to learn and has a “going the extra mile” attitude.

Robert Bos, BSc

Robert Bos is a MSc student who’s doing an internship at iDNA about the potential implementation of low-dose CT lung cancer screening in a yet to be determined region in the EU. He enjoys learning about physiology and feels at home looking for solutions in a socially relevant environment. In this internship he aims to use his background in Biomedical Sciences to contribute to faster lung cancer screening implementation in order to increase detection of lung cancer in earlier stages and to thereby reduce the overall burden that lung cancer places on patients. In his free time he likes to watch and participate in judo and Brazilian Jiu jutsu.

Elke Sander, BSc

Elke Sander is a student at the University of Groningen, currently following the master’s program Biology. She is following the specialised Science Business & Policy track to learn more about applying science in a business environment. In her internship at iDNA she will look at the possibilities for offering a remote reading service for lung cancer screening. 

Dylan Mezach, BSc

Dylan Mezach is a student following the research master Biomedical Sciences at the University of Groningen. At iDNA, Dylan is working to validate an AI algorithm that will be used to support radiologists in the assessment of emphysema staging in Low-dose CT scans. Validation is done using a  subset of the publicly available LIDC-IDRI dataset. The algorithm is able to perform lobe segmentation and asses the percentage emphysema per lobe. Both experienced radiologists and the algorithm will assess the selected CT scans and the results will be compared to validate the accuracy and specificity of the algorithm.

Katerina Togka, BSc

Katerina Togka is currently in her final year of her Master in Medical Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Groningen. After obtaining her Bachelor in Pharmacy and finishing her traineeship in community and hospital pharmacies, she decided to focus on finding ways to combine scientific innovations with business. As a Business Development Intern at iDNA, she is investigating the economic impact of Artificial Intelligence in Lung Cancer Screening, followed by a detailed report of current laws and regulations regarding the clinical validation of AI.

Diana Nacy, BSc

Diana Nacy obtained her bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences at the University of Groningen. Currently, she’s a biomedical sciences master student following the track Science, Business and Policy. She has always been interested in oncology and her aim is to make the lives of those affected easier and bearable. That is the reason why she decided to get into health economics. During her internship at iDNA, she will be working on implementing lung cancer screening in the UK by looking at the scientific, economic, but also the laws and regulations involved in this process.

Simone van der Hulst, BSc

Simone van der Hulst obtained a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering and also completed the bachelor’s Honours Program at the University of Groningen. After which she gained work experience as a MRI planner at the Radiology department of the University Medical Centre Groningen. Simone is currently following the master’s degree Science Education and Communication at the University of Groningen and has chosen the Communication track. She has affinity with healthcare and is especially interested in working on projects that offer added value for society. During her internship at iDNA she will develop a communication strategy in regards to personalized lung cancer screening.


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