Rene Toes completed his PhD in 1996 at the University of Leiden, The Netherlands. He held postdoctoral positions in Tübingen, Germany, and the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC), in which he specialized in antigen-presentation, anti-tumor immunity and T cell activation. Since 2001, he is leading the laboratory for rheumatic diseases at the LUMC. Since 2010, he is a full professor in experimental rheumatology at Leiden University.
His current research is focussing on how immunological tolerance to self is broken as this is at the basis of the development of autoimmunity and consequently autoimmune diseases. More specifically, his group aims to understand how B-cell tolerance towards self-antigens in rheumatic disease is breached with an emphasis on B-cells and auto-antibodies in rheumatoid arthritis. The goal of this research is to implement the knowledge acquired into the design of preventive strategies and/or interventions aiming to restore normal immune-homeostasis and, ultimately, cure of B-cell mediated auto-immune diseases.