René Bernards is a professor of molecular carcinogenesis at the Netherlands Cancer Institute. His laboratory uses functional genomic approaches to find vulnerabilities of cancers that can be exploited therapeutically. His laboratory identified the combination of a BRAF inhibitor and an EGFR inhibitor as effective for the treatment of BRAF mutant colon cancer. He also developed the first clinically used gene expression test for early breast cancer prognosis: MammaPrint.
Amongst his honors are the Pezcoller Foundation award, the Ernst Bertner Award for Cancer Research from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and the ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award. He is also a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences and of the AACR Academy.