Henri van Luenen studied biology at the Free University in Amsterdam. In 1987 he joined the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) in Amsterdam and a year later started on his PhD project (molecular analysis of DNA transposition in C. elegans) under supervision of prof. Ronald Plasterk. In 1995 he obtained is PhD degree and continued as a postdoctoral fellow; first in the research group of prof. Plasterk and later in the group of prof. Piet Borst working on molecular biology of L. tarantolae and T. brucei (function and biosynthesis if DNA base J). Next to his scientific work he started in 1997 as director of operations at the NKI. As director of operations, in close collaboration with the director of research, he is responsible for creating and maintaining a state-of-the-art research institute.