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Ellen Van Rooijen


Ellen is an associate at Flagship Pioneering, working as part of a team of entrepreneurial scientists to conceive, create, resource and develop the next generation of Flagship’s first-in-category ventures. She joined the firm after completing the firm’s Fellows Program.

Before joining Flagship, Ellen completed her postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Leonard Zon at Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School, where she studied the epigenetic regulation of melanoma and identified a new chromatin factor sufficient to drive metastatic progression. For this work, Ellen was awarded two prestigious Dutch fellowships for talented junior scientists: a Rubicon Fellowship (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research), and a KWF Fellowship for Fundamental Cancer Research (Dutch Cancer Society). While pursuing her Ph.D. degree at the Hubrecht Institute and University Medical Center of Utrecht, she used interdisciplinary approaches to study the underlying mechanisms of the hereditary von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) cancer syndrome, developed the first embryonic viable vertebrate model for this disease, and discovered a novel cilia-associated tumor suppressor and first gene to be linked to testicular cancer predisposition.

Beyond her scientific research, Ellen was a founding board member and co-president of the Boston Children’s Postdoctoral Association. She initiated the formation of the Boston PDA, representing 10,000+ postdocs in the region. In addition, she co-organized and chaired a Gordon Research Seminar on stem cells and cancer. She also consulted for Inari Agriculture, a Flagship Pioneering company. Prior to her Ph.D. studies, Ellen worked at Centocor/Janssen Biotech, where she led multidisciplinary teams and managed investigations into non-conformities during the production of antibodies for the treatment of autoimmune diseases.

Ellen has authored over 21 peer-reviewed publications in leading scientific journals including Blood, JASN, and Science, which have been cited more than 750 times.

Ellen holds her Ph.D. in developmental biology and oncology from Utrecht University, the Netherlands and a master’s degree in biology cum laude from Leiden University.