My name is Jolien Robijns and I am currently a second-year postdoctoral researcher at Hasselt University (Hasselt, Belgium). I obtained my master's degree in Biomedical Sciences from the same university in 2014. In October 2018, I started my Ph.D. in the research group of Prof. Dr. Jeroen Mebis, head of the Medical Oncology Department at Jessa Hospital (Hasselt, Belgium). His group is profoundly investigating the effectiveness of photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) in the prevention and management of cancer therapy-related complications, such as oral mucositis (OM) and acute radiodermatitis (ARD).
The main goal of my Ph.D. project was investigating the efficacy of PBMT in the prevention and management of ARD in cancer patients. The results of my project demonstrated that PBMT could effectively reduce the incidence of severe ARD in both patients with breast and head and neck cancer. Since October 2018, I further investigate these positive results, as a postdoctoral researcher, on a larger scale in two multicentric trials in collaboration between Jessa Hospital (Hasselt, BE), Ziekenhuis Oost- Limburg (Genk, BE) and UHasselt, embedded in the Limburg Clinical Research Center (LCRC). This research is important to me because it is so application-oriented and ultimately offers added value to the patient. It gives me great satisfaction to work on something for which you get so much recognition from the patients.
In October 2019, our team has set up the first PBM center for supportive cancer care in Belgium, named “LOwLIght” (www.lowlight.info). This center has three main goals: treating oncologic patients with PBMT for OM and ARD, organizing PBMT training courses for other medical specialists, and conducting further research for other indications in the field of supportive cancer care.
The results of our previous and ongoing clinical trials already resulted in several peer-reviewed publications. Moreover, I presented our results orally at numerous national and international conferences. This has ultimately led to eight scientific awards. Also, the Belgian press was impressed by the beneficial results, which gave rise to numerous newspaper reports and it even was covered on the national television. Next to the ASLMS, I work in close collaboration with the WALT, ESLD, MASCC, and Belgian Laser Group (BLG).
In 2017 my ASLMS story started and it led to a lot of research, educational and career-related opportunities. As such, I was able to present the first results of my Ph.D. at the ASLMS conference in San Diego (CA, USA). I was honored to receive the award for “Best of ESLD Laser and EBD Medicine for Breast Cancer Patients Session.” Also for the (canceled) ASLMS conference of 2020, I had three oral presentations and I even was granted with the ASLMS Richard E. Fitzpatrick Best Overall Clinical Award.
Via my role as ASLMS Early-Career Scientist Student Board Representative, I hope to encourage young scientists, fellows, and residents to join the ASLMS and share their knowledge in the field of laser and PBMT research. I would like to promote the use of laser medicine and especially the use of PBMT under the existing and new ASLMS members and represent the interests of early career professionals to the ASLMS governing board. Further, I would like to promote education for early career professionals under the mentorship programs of ASLMS.
Outside of research, I enjoy running, hiking, traveling, and spending time with my family and friends.