Research

Aim and focus

Our mission is to dissect host immunological and genetic mechanisms of protective and impaired immunity in infectious diseases. Our aim is to design optimal therapeutic (e.g.  immune modulation) and preventive (e.g.  vaccination) intervention strategies, by establishing relevant and robust biomarkers of disease and protection (e.g.  immunodiagnostics and monitoring) and developing and testing new vaccines, and new vaccination strategies

Research fields

The department of Infectious Diseases has a broad range of research fields (see below). Approaches are both patient-oriented and fundamental, and combine areas of immunology, cell biology, molecular microbiology and molecular genetics with clinical and epidemiological aspects of infectious diseases. The scientific staff of the department consists of immunologists, biomedical scientists and clinicians, and cooperates with national and international research groups.

 

There are 6 researchfields: 

Congenital and acquired immune defects

The clinical analysis and treatment, and scientific research on immune defects/immunodeficiencies belong to one of the priorities of the Department of Infectious Diseases LUMC. This occurs in a multi-disciplinary collaboration with pediatricians, pulmonologists, ENT physicians, immunologists and medical microbiologists and involves multiple laboratories in national and international networks. More information.

Travel medicine and Post-Travel Clinic

Patient care in the field of travel medicine and tropical diseases is concentrated in the vaccination clinic and tropical diseases outpatient clinic, that serves people suffering tropical infectious diseases. The vaccination clinic accommodates travelers with special health problems or underlying medical conditions such as allergies, hematopoietic or solid organ transplantation, immune modulating medications or special need for specific vaccines such as rabies vaccine.

Moreover, after risky voyages travelers can be screened for (tropical) infections, a project in collaboration with the Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology.

As one of the few centers in the Netherlands, the vaccination clinic combines travel medicine and research on immunology and effectiveness of vaccinations in immune impaired individuals (post-transplant, anti-TNFalpha, etc). Primary research interests include new subunitvaccins against tuberculosis, effectiveness of alternative routes of administration of the yellow fever, polio and hepatitis B vaccine, as well as the immune responsiveness in subjects with immune disorders. More information.

HIV/AIDS

The department of Infectious Diseases LUMC has a center for HIV /AIDS care. the department participates in national and international research on trials of drug treatment of HIV-infected individuals. In cooperation with the departement of Nephrology and Kidney Transplantation a protocol has been developed to mange kidney transplants in HIV-infected individuals, with pre-transplant screening, and perioperative management of medication, especially regarding the many drug interactions. More information.

Infectious Diseases and Immunology

The next few years will bring great challenges in the field of infectious diseases in large-scale analysis of proteins and their interactions, with the aim of identifying biomarkers of protective immunity, surrogate markers of disease (course) or potential targets for immune intervention. The department invests in a biodatabase of patients with well-defined infections, who present to care in all clinical domains (i.e., GP, emergency department, hospital ward, intensive care unit). The program not only aims to identify prognostic biomarkers of infectious disease susceptibility and course identification in the patient, but also to allow early identification of pathogens (and identification of new pathogens). More information.

Leprosy research 

The major goal of leprosy research at the LUMC is early detection of leprosy and infection with the bacterium causing this disease, in order to prevent and predict leprosy-associated nerve damage and reduce transmission. An important focus is the development of a robust, user-friendly diagnostic test, based on biomarkers for infection, protection or disease . Additionally, leprosy represents an intriguing model of human immunoregulatory disease. For further information visit the webpage "Leprosy-research".

Tuberculosis research towards improved vaccines, diagnostic tests and TB-biomarkers 

At the LUMC the research concentrates on a number of key issues in TB:

(1) Designing and testing of better vaccines.

(2) Identification of biomarkers of protective immunity and disease (course) for tuberculosis

(3) Designing better tests for TB infection and stage of disease.

More information.