Derek Rookhuizen, Ph.D.

Derek is a multi-faceted researcher with broad expertise ranging from innate immunity and cell biology to epigenetics. He’s passionate about investigating how ancient viral sequences in our genome can stimulate immunity and promote anti-tumor responses. During his postdoctoral studies at the Curie Institute in Paris, France, he discovered a new mechanism of host defense during infection that relies on innate detection of the host’s own genome to strengthen anti-microbial defenses. He pursued his Ph.D. training at the University of California, Berkeley where he demonstrated how innate sensing can program the magnitude and quality of T-dependent antibody responses, key elements of vaccine design.