Unravelling host-pathogen-immune interactions in infectious diseases

Project Details


Although infectious diseases (ID) have put a heavy burden on life expectancy, over the last century, the combined successes of sanitation, antibiotics and vaccination resulted in a dramatic decline in ID related mortality. However, the current COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates that there is no room for complacency. Therefore, ID research expertise should remain an integral part of every academic institution.
Our research aims to expand the expertise in ID and immunology research that we have obtained over the last decades. We seek to take advantage of the momentum created by the COVID-19 pandemic but also want to tackle other ID challenges as well as to anticipate new challenges.
In this context, we prospectively collected blood samples from a large number of UZ Brussel employees, both during the first COVID-19 waves and after COVID-19-vaccination, in order to investigate both virus and vaccine-induced immune responses. We will also gain insights into the interactions of these vaccines with the host microbiome by testing them in mouse models. In parallel, taking advantage of our longstanding expertise, we will continue to generate improved RNA-based vaccines by developing better carriers and by exploring novel antigen formulations.
Taken together, we want to build a comprehensive and broad expertise level in state-of-the-art ID and immunology-related technologies that can be used, not only for current but also for future pandemics.
Effective start/end date29/06/2229/06/26

Flemish discipline codes

  • Infectious diseases


  • Infectious Diseases
  • innate immune response
  • adaptive immune response
  • mRNA-based vaccine