Leiden University Center for Infectious Diseases (LU-CID)

We develop novel strategies for the cure and prevention of infectious diseases.
Center for Infectious Diseases

About

The LUMC Center for Infectious Diseases (CID) develops novel strategies for the prevention and cure of infectious diseases. The research program addresses fundamental and translational aspects of host-pathogen and host-microbe interactions. The research is embedded in three LUMC departments: Medical Microbiology , Infectious Diseases and Parasitology.

PhD programme Leiden Edinburgh

Leiden Center for Infectious Diseases en Edinburgh Infectious Diseases zetten een gezamenlijk PhD programma op voor integrated one health solutions.

Research programs

Immunology & cell biology of bacterial infections

Our research within this program focuses on key aspects of host pathogen interactions, particularly in mycobacterial infections, and on anti-microbial resistance. Several clusters of scientists work together to unravel fundamental mechanisms of host defence against the responsible pathogens, using advanced immunomonitoring and other advanced approaches to identify and refine biomarker signatures of infection, disease risk, disease activity and protective immunity, as well as the design of novel therapies that target drug-resistant bacterial pathogens. This work provides the translational basis for the development of diagnostics, novel host-directed therapies, immune modulatory and antibacterial molecules strategies as well as novel vaccines.

Host-parasite interaction

Parasitic infections are extremely common worldwide, affecting billions of people. In our society they form medical problems in travellers and in migrants but in many low to middle income countries they are major causes of morbidity and mortality. The understanding of how parasites interact with their human host has far reaching consequences and is of importance to disciplines beyond parasitology. The program “Host-parasite interaction” focuses on understanding host-parasite interactions at the molecular, cellular and population level and the knowledge gained is being applied to achieve the two missions of the Department of Parasitology (PARA): 1) developing effective vaccines against parasitic diseases and 2) identifying parasite-derived immune modulatory molecules to control hyper-inflammatory diseases.

Molecular and clinical virology

This research program addresses the biology of viral pathogens and virus-host interactions, to enhance our understanding of their molecular biology and pathogenesis and the host’s response to infection. We aim to develop strategies to identify, prevent, or treat infection, in particular the use of vaccines and antiviral drugs. Different viral pathogens are studied, selected for their clinical relevance, their recent (re)emergence, or their suitability as a research model. The replication and evolution of RNA viruses is a major research theme. The molecular biology of this important group of pathogens is studied on the level of (i) the genome and its replicative enzymes, (ii) virus-host interactions, including innate immune responses and viral replication organelles, (iii) viral pathogenesis, (iv) virus evolution and adaptation. The program further includes studies on persistent DNA virus infections, which are addressed in both clinical and experimental settings, as well as from an evolutionary perspective. We aim to identify triggers and markers of viral reactivation and unravel pathogenesis in the immunocompromised host (including pregnancy), enabling early detection and prevention of symptomatic disease.

Bacterial infections and antimicrobial resistance

Infections due to antibiotic resistant bacteria are increasing in importance, both in hospitals and in the community. In recent years, drug-resistant strains of the Gram-positive Clostridium difficile emerged worldwide and were identified as causative agents of enteric infections with high mortality and morbidity. Infections due to Gram-negative bacteria that are resistant to first-line therapeutic agents as well as to second-line agents are also more frequent. Early diagnosis and a better understanding of the virulence characteristics of these bacteria should result in the development of more appropriate therapeutic interventions. Additionally, prevention of spread of C. difficile and multidrug-resistant Gram-negatives are important issues in hospital infection control. A healthy and diverse intestinal microbiota is considered an important defence against colonization with C. difficile and multidrug-resistant Gram-negatives. Faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is accepted as a standard treatment for recurrent C. difficile infections and is explored for eradication of multidrug-resistant bacteria from the intestinal tract. Other diseases that involve disbalanced microbiota in the intestinal tract, e.g. inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), are also considered for FMT treatment and studies are set up to investigate the precise contents and the active constituents of the donor faeces.

Department of Parasitology

The Department of Parasitology conducts research on human infections caused by parasites

Parasitology

Department of Medical Microbiology

The Department of Medical Microbiology detects and investigates infectious agents.

Medical Microbiology

Department of Infectious Diseases

The department Infectious Diseases offers patient-centered care. We combine patient care with fundamental and clinical scientific research.

Infectious Diseases

The Leiden Controlled Human Infections Center

Clinical studies in which healthy volunteers are infected with micro-organisms and parasites under highly controlled conditions are extremely important to develop novel medicine and vaccines.

The Microbiome Analysis Intitiative

The LUMC’s Center for Microbiome Analysis and Therapeutics (CMAT) facilitates all aspects of Microbiome research; from study design, sampling, DNA extraction and sequencing to data analysis and interpretation.

The Tuberculosis Research Center

Tuberculosis research at LUMC aims to resolve the huge need for better vaccines, biomarkers and diagnostic tests for tuberculosis.