The research interest of Dr van der Laak lies in the relatively new field of 'digital pathology'. Digital pathology aims to extract information from scanned histopathological sections, to aid the diagnostic process. To this end, his group develops methods both in terms of laboratory procedures (e.g. special staining techniques), digital slide scanning and development of image analysis and pattern recognition software. Current projects focus on automated recognition and characterization of breast cancer (FP7 funded VPH-PRISM project), detection of metastases in sentinel lymph nodes (funded by the 'Stichting IT Projecten; STITPRO') and quantification of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes in breast and colon cancer (funded by Alpe d'HuZes and the RIHS). Dr van der Laak actively participates in the Dutch government (FEZ2009) funded tEPIS project, which is part of the TRAIT consortium.
Dr van der Laak has a background in computer science and is assistant professor in the department of Pathology. His research group is embedded in the Radiology diagnostic image analysis group (DIAG). Dr van der Laak co-authored over 80 peer-reviewed scientific papers. He is staff member of the Pathology department and responsible for digitizing the pathology workflow and for the general IT activities of the department. He is a member of the 'stuurgroep digitale beelduitwisseling' of the Dutch federation for Pathology (NVVP).