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Personal profile

Research interests

Focus of research
The research questions in the lab focuses on the understanding of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infections. This bacterium is responsible for one of the biggest killers causing the deadly disease tuberculosis. The vaccine currently used to prevent M.tuberculosis infections is M. bovis BCG. This live vaccine was developed almost 1 century ago and has not been improved ever since. We collaborate with several groups worldwide (Germany, France, Spain, Swiss, USA, South Africa) to improve this vaccine and understand the biology of tuberculosis infection. The subcellular localization of the pathogenic bacteria within cultured cells and in vivo is an important aspect (van der Wel et al., Cell 2007; Abdallah et al JI 2008; Abdallah et al., JI, 2011; Houben et al., Cell Microbiol. 2012; Weerdenburg et al., Cell Microbiol. 2012; Stoop et al; Cell Microbiol. 2013, Van Leeuwen et al., 2018, Buter et al., Nat Biom Biol. 2019 ) and subject of our ongoing research. In addition, we discovered that the outermost layer of mycobacteria consists of a labile structure that contains several secreted products, involved in the immune responses of pathogenic bacteria (Sani et al 2010, Ates 2016). Currently we are investigating the mechanism of capsular stability and generation, as this is the first encounter of the vaccine BCG with the host. The projects serves both fundamental innovative research and has a clear application, in the vaccine manufacturing.

Electron Microscopy

At the Core facility Cellular Imaging, several different microscopy techniques are made available for the AMC-staff, and affiliated researchers (http://www.cellularimaging.nl). Since March 2014 Dr. Nicole van der Wel was appointed head Electron Microscopy. With a group of 4 technicians (Daisy Picavet, Henk van der Veen, Anita Grootemaat and Edwin Scholl) we assist researchers from the AMC and partners with performing Electron Microscopy. We give advice on the techniques needed, support performing and interpretation of the experiments.

November 2015 we opened the Electron Microscopy Centre Amsterdam (EMCA http://www.cellularimaging.nl/electron-microscopy/). The EMCA is a collaboration between several Amsterdam life science research institutes, including the Vumc, AMC, NKI, ACTA and NIN, and is housed at Core facility Cellular Imaging within the department of Cell Biology&Histology at the AMC. At the EMCA the operators and researchers from the different universities and institutes work on the various TEM and SEM microscopes and have shared work-discussions. The shared equipment is paid for by the involved partners as well as by various other academic and industrial users. As such we collaborate with most Amsterdam and various (inter)national research groups and have created an EM knowledge centre in Amsterdam. We have long standing expertise in transmission electron microscopy (TEM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), but also apply new developments such as combined light electron microscopy (CLEM), tomography, immunoEM, and Cryo-EM.


Head Electron Microscopy Center Amsterdam

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or