The University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) is one of the largest hospitals in the Netherland. More than 12,000 employees provide patient care and perform cutting-edge scientific research. For its research and educational function, the hospital has close ties with the University of Groningen. The Department of Medical Microbiology within the UMCG comprises the areas of microbiological diagnositics, infection prevention and microbiological research. One of the research fields of the department is vaccinology, the branch of medicine concerned with the science of vaccines. The Vaccinology research group focuses on design of new and improved vaccines for diverse viral infections on a rational basis. The work of the group comprises evaluation of new vaccines and adjuvants, exploration of new administration routes, and the development of in vitro systems suitable for testing new vaccine candidates and for revealing working mechanisms of vaccines and adjuvants.
Role of UMCG in the VAC2VAC project
UMCG will contribute its expertise to the VAC2VAC project in in vitro vaccine evaluation. In particular, UMCG will develop cell-based systems which are suitable for the evaluation of vaccine properties like safety and immunogenicty. To this end, cell lines and primary human blood cells will be exposed to the vaccines to be evaluated and the responses of the cells with respect to gene expression, activation, and production of cytokines will be measured. A major task will be to integrate the different responses such that the response profile as a whole will allow conclusions about the quality of a particular vaccine or vaccine batch.
Anke Huckriede received a PhD in cell biology from the University of Bielefeld, Germany. In 1990 she joined the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the University of Groningen, as a postdoc. After having worked on mitochondrial diseases she switched to the field of vaccine development working on tumor vaccines and vaccines for viral diseases. In 2011 she was appointed Professor of Vaccinology at the Department of Microbiology, UMCG. Currently, her interest is in rational vaccine design. Anke Huckriede is involved in several EU consortia devoted to vaccine development and exploration as co-leader or as work package leader.