Image Guided Surgery


The Image-Guided Surgery group at Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), headed by Dr. Vahrmeijer focuses on safe and efficient clinical translation of  image guided surgery applications to improve personalized clinical practice and enhance patient outcome.

Alexander Vahrmeijer, MD, PhD

Principal Investigator. Full profile



Noor Boogerd, MD

Noor Boogerd started Medical School at Leiden University in 2007, after two years of studying Architecture at the Technical University in Delft. During her study, she worked at the first Aid Unit, where she created interest for the surgical field. She performed her senior research project in the Image-Guided Surgery group of dr. Vahrmeijer. After fulfilling the end of her study, she started with her PhD project under supervision of dr. A.L. Vahrmeijer and Prof. dr. C.J.H. van de Velde. Her research focusses on implementation of both non-targeted and targeted fluorescent probes during (oncologic) surgery. Furthermore, she is engaged with validation of novel imaging techniques, such as spectroscopy, to improve intraoperative tumor visualization.




Denise Hilling, MD, PhD

Denise Hilling received her medical degree from the Erasmus University, Rotterdam in 2006. Subsequently she performed her doctoral work in Leiden in transplantation surgery, under supervision of Prof. dr. O.T. Terpstra, leading to a PhD in 2012. In 2010 she started her surgical residency in the Medical Center Haaglanden and the Leiden University Medical Center. She will finish her training as a surgical oncologist (with a focus on colorectal, breast and thyroid cancer) in 2018. In 2015 she joined the group of dr. Vahrmeijer, where she will focus on imaging strategies for treatment response to neoadjuvant therapy in rectal and breast cancer.




Charlotte Hoogstins, MD

Charlotte Hoogstins obtained her medical degree from the University of Groningen in 2013. During her research internship at the Department of Orthopaedic Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, United States, she first got enthusiastic about doing research. This led to the start of her PhD research in the Image-Guided Surgery group. Her PhD projected focusses on the clinical translation of novel probes. For this purpose she is also appointed at the Centre for Human Drug Research, a clinical research institute highly specialized in (early)drug development.




Merlijn Hutteman, MD, PhD

Merlijn Hutteman received his Master's degree in Artificial Intelligence from Utrecht University in 2006. He received his medical degree from Leiden University in 2013. He performed his doctoral work in image-guided surgery, under supervision of dr. A.L. Vahrmeijer and prof. dr. C.J.H. van de Velde, which led to his PhD in 2011. During his PhD research, he has worked as a visiting research fellow at the lab of prof. dr. J.V. Frangioni, at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, United States. He started his surgical residency in 2014 in the Bronovo Hospital, The Hague and the Medical Center Haaglanden. He continues to be involved in the research of the group of dr. Vahrmeijer and focuses on novel probes and clinical application strategies.


Sven Mieog, MD, PhD

Sven Mieog obtained his medical degree at the Leiden University in 2007 and continued his PhD research at the Department of Surgery at the Leiden University Medical Center under supervision of dr. A.L. Vahrmeijer and Prof. dr. C.J.H. van de Velde. He was the first PhD student on the Image-Guided Surgery project and was therefore responsible for the initiation and preclinical and clinical introduction of the near-infrared fluorescence imaging technique. He obtained a ZonMw AGIKO stipendium in 2008 and completed his PhD thesis in 2011. He started his surgical training in 2010 and is currently in the differentiation phase of his surgical education focusing on gastrointestinal, pancreatic and hepatobiliary malignancies. He is a postdoctoral fellow of the Image-Guided Surgery group.
Sven Mieog’s focus of interest is on pancreatic, hepatobiliary and colorectal cancer surgery as well as on the application of imaging techniques in the operating theatre for better visualization of tumor tissue and vital structures. He is a board member of the European Society of Surgical Oncology (ESSO) Education and Training Committee and a member of the steering committee of the ESSO Young Surgeon Affiliation. He has developed and chaired the ESSO Surgical anatomy course on pancreatic cancer in collaboration with the Heidelberg University Hospital.




Cornelis Sier, MD, PhD

Kees (short for Cornelis) is a molecular biologist especially focussed on cell-cell interactions in cancer. He studied biology at the Free University of Amsterdam (NL) and obtained his PhD in 1993 at the Leiden University Medical Centre (Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology) and TNO-Gaubius Institute in Leiden, NL. After a post-doc in the same department Kees moved to the Università Vita Saluta San Raffaele in Milan (IT), where he stayed for 5 years. In his Italian period he visited several institutes, including the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research (Milan, IT) and the Finsen Laboratory, a basic cancer research department in Copenhagen (DK). He returned to the Leiden University Medical Centre performing research projects in the departments of Pathology, Gastroenterology, and Trauma Surgery. From the summer of 2010 Kees joined the CTMM consortium MUSIS via ARA-BV (SME located in Gouda, NL) and became associated member of the Image-guided Oncologic Surgery group (Head, dr. Alexander Vahrmeijer) within the department of Surgery of the Leiden University Medical Centre. His main focus is the evaluation of tumour markers as target for image-guided surgery and the subsequent development of targeted probes against selected candidates.




Paulien Stegehuis, MSc

Paulien Stegehuis received her Bachelor degree in Technical Medicine in 2009 at the University of Twente. She obtained her Master of Science in Robotics & Imaging in 2012, at the same university. Her Master’s thesis was carried out at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, in combination with Philips Research, Eindhoven, titled ‘Diagnosis with optical spectroscopy during in vivo human breast procedures’. Since December 2012, Paulien is a PhD student at the LUMC; partly at the Image –Guided surgery group under supervision of dr. A.L. Vahrmeijer and Prof. dr. C.J.H. van de Velde, and partly at the Division of Image Processing under supervision of dr. J. Dijkstra and Prof. dr. B.P.F. Lelieveldt. Her research focusses on the implementation of novel optical imaging techniques, such as optical coherence tomography and spectroscopy, to improve intraoperative tumor visualization.




Rutger-Jan Swijnenburg, MD, PhD

After obtaining his medical degree, Rutger-Jan spent three years at Stanford University studying molecular imaging of embryonic stem cell transplantation, for which he was awarded a PhD degree. This research was supported by fellowships from the European Society for Organ Transplantation and the Fulbright Foundation. In 2008, he started his Surgery Residency at the Leiden University Medical Center and the Bronovo Hospital in The Hague. He became interested in surgical oncology and got the opportunity to join Prof. Cornelis van de Velde and dr. Alexander Vahrmeijer’s Image-Guided Surgery research group. In 2011-2012, he worked full time for a year as a senior researcher. In 2010, Rutger-Jan co-founded the Lisa Waller Hayes Foundation ( This foundation is dedicated to advance scientific research in the field of pancreatic cancer and to provide a platform of information to patients and their families. He has finished his training as a surgical oncologist in July 2015 and is currently fellow Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery at the LUMC. His current research focus is on multimodality molecular imaging to allow integration of preoperative and intraoperative imaging of hepatobiliary and pancreatic tumors.




Willemieke Tummers, MD

Willemieke received her medical degree in 2015 at Leiden University after which she started her PhD research at the Department of Surgery at Leiden University Medical Center in the Image-Guided Surgery group under supervision of dr. A.L. Vahrmeijer and Prof. dr. C.J.H. van de Velde. She focuses mainly on multimodality molecular imaging to allow integration of preoperative and intraoperative imaging of pancreatic tumors. She will spend one year at Sanjiv Sam Gambhir’s  Multimodality Molecular Imaging Lab at Stanford University, to set up a collaboration on the preclinical validation of tumor-specific probes and imaging techniques for pancreatic cancer.  During her study, Willemieke worked as allocation officer at Eurotransplant International Foundation.